Today I have decided to post about the “Record What You Learn” pattern. This pattern is targeted at developers who find themselves repeatedly learning about the same topics. Some lessons just never seem to stick in their memories, and they often forget the details of their past works. According to the pattern, simply recording what you learn in a journal, wiki, or blog can be an effective solution to this problem. Keeping such a record not only helps reinforce old lessons, but it can provide us with a powerful tool for drawing new connections in our knowledge and developing new lessons to pursue. A record also helps us understand how we came to develop our skills and allows us to easily share our experiences with others.
I decided to read this pattern because I often find myself repeating old lessons. Many programming projects I have worked on, both on my own and for school, have required me to reapply topics I worked with in the past. More often than not, I struggle to remember all the details I need and have to search for tutorials or guides to refresh my memory. In fact, my list of bookmarks in my browser is crowded by tutorials that I have needed to return to many times. Whenever I find myself searching for help with an old skill, I just get frustrated with myself for having a poor memory. I never even considered keeping a record of my lessons to make them easier to remember.
Reading this pattern has definitely changed my perspective on my troubles with remembering old lessons. I may be having these difficulties because I have not done anything to reinforce my lessons, and not simply because my memory is bad. I definitely think keeping a record in a journal or a personal wiki would be helpful to me. Instead of searching through my list of bookmarked tutorials for hours searching for one bit of information, I could simply refer to my own record to find what I need quickly. A record would also make it easier to reflect on my past lessons, which I think could help motivate me to continue learning new things. In addition, a record might make it easier for me to help others learn skills, as it would allow me to look back on how I learned those skills myself. I was honestly surprised by how useful recording what you learn can be, so this pattern has made it clear that creating a record of my lessons would be worth doing.