Create Feedback Loops

            The pattern called “Create Feedback Loops” in the Apprenticeship Patterns book focuses on finding ways to identify areas of knowledge which are lacking and how to overcome them. One point which I found summed up the learning pattern quite well was, “An apprentice probably shouldn’t work on not making mistakes early as much as they should be working out how to identify the mistakes you make.” In the context of feedback loops, this means that rather than skimming over the areas of understanding which are lacking, find someone to support the necessary learning and identify/correct mistakes, as this can provide a solid platform for learning. As for the areas which a “white belt,” such as myself, feels comfortable in, there should be people to feel comfortable with going to for review or correction. Essentially, you don’t know what you don’t know, which can be a huge hinderance to progress.

            I find this to be a particularly tricky learning pattern. Not that it’s hard to understand, but finding the proper resources and mentoring is not easy, especially during the current semester full of social distancing and online isolation. I think I’m very open to being corrected or shown a newer and better way to do the things I’m already good at, but finding someone to help me in the first place can be a struggle. I totally agree with the premise, but building a feedback loop is no easy task.

            I think incorporating this at a college level is definitely the best place to start, and I’m happy to be continuing my education at grad school as it gives me more time and opportunities to receive feedback in a lower pressure setting. Sure, my grades depend on my performance, but I don’t have a team/company relying on my work, and I don’t rely on the quality of that work for my well-being and forward progression as a professional. Also, having peers to work with and derive feedback loops from is better for starting as we are equals, rather than getting feedback from higher-level developers or something.

            I think one way I could implement this into my current learning is in the capstone. Perhaps there would be some time to do pair programming. I think this could be super helpful as it’s similar to working through an example problem, but I also have the support of a peer who could share knowledge and provide insight on how my train of thought is flowing, whether positive or negative. I’m happy to incorporate this pattern into my learning.

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