The “Record What You Learn” pattern suggests keeping a record of the lessons you’re learning during your apprenticeship in the form of a journal, a blog, or a wiki, so that you don’t have to figure something out more than once. You can also keep two records, a public version and a private version. This enables you to find other people interested in the same topics and get outside feedback, but also be honest with yourself about your progress if there are things you want to write down but would feel too embarrassed to post. The writers also advise you to go back and read what you’ve recorded periodically, so you don’t write stuff down and then forget it, rendering this pattern useless.
The action the writers suggest to start implementing this pattern is what we’ve been doing for this class this whole time: write down your thoughts about Apprenticeship Patterns and ideas it has inspired. I’ve found that in any situation, writing down what I’m learning does help to process the information. During my painful Data Structures course, I took notes from the book just to summarize the concepts and make them stick in my head. Additionally, it’s common wisdom that the best way to learn something is to teach it. If you’re making a public record, you’ll get part of the benefit of teaching it by having to put what you’ve learned into words easy for someone ignorant of the subject to understand.
I like the idea of having both a private and a public record, because I would feel hesitant to broadcast what I was learning if I was still unsure of my knowledge of it. I also like the idea of creating a breakable toy to store the lessons, because then the process of recording what you’ve learned will itself be a learning experience.
If in the future I find myself making the same mistakes over and over, I’ll know that it means I’m not writing down or reviewing what I’ve learned often enough. The time investment is worth it, because it’d waste a lot more time running into problems I’ve already solved and having to relearn their solutions.