Looking for a new read? Here are 7 of the best rated learning and development books.

Best rated learning and development books

Are you an avid reader looking for your next learning and development books to read? Then look no further. I’ve compiled a list of the best reviewed learning and development books, receiving no less than 4.4 stars out of 5. These books are killing it and providing tremendous value to learning professionals just like you.

In this article I’ve shared the amazon rating out of 5, the book synopsis and a couple of real-life reviews direct from Amazon, real buyers with real opinions.

Some of these books I already own, and others are being swiftly added to basket. So, lets get into the list!

Please note: this article contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission as a result of your purchase. Any revenue I receive keeps Development Professionals going and is reinvested back into the blog so I can continue to share L&D tips, tricks and toolkits.

Map it – Cathy Moore

Synopsis:

Map It helps you turn training requests into projects that make a real difference. You’ll learn how to:

  • Help the client identify what’s really causing the performance problem.
  • Determine the role (if any!) of training.
  • Create realistic activities that help people practice what they need to do, not just show what they know.
  • Choose the best format for each activity — online, projected to a group, on paper, as a small-group activity, over email…
  • Provide each activity at the best time — in the workflow, available on demand, spaced over time…
  • Let people pull the information they need to complete the activity — no more information dumps!
  • Enjoy creating challenging activities that people want to complete.
  • Show how your project has improved the performance of the organization.

Reviews:

“This is a great book for making you stop and think about why you are building that course – and what your customer is trying to get out of it”

“this book made me rethink current approaches to delivering knowledge and instead, place greater emphasis on skills and behaviours.”

Star Rating: 4.4 out of 5

Design for how people learn – Julie Dirskin

Synopsis:

In Design For How People Learn, you’ll discover how to use the key principles behind learning, memory, and attention to create materials that enable your audience to both gain and retain the knowledge and skills you’re sharing. Updated to cover new insights and research into how we learn and remember, this new edition includes new techniques for using social media for learning as well as two brand new chapters on designing for habit and best practices for evaluating learning, such as how and when to use tests. Using accessible visual metaphors and concrete methods and examples, Design For How People Learn, Second Edition will teach you how to leverage the fundamental concepts of instructional design both to improve your own learning and to engage your audience.

Reviews:

“this is a great book that avoids excessive jargon and overly scientific explanations. Well written and easy to read”

“The book is filled with practical tips that you can apply immediately in your corporate training”

Star Rating: 4.4 out of 5

Design for how people learn – Julie Dirskin

Synopsis:

In Design For How People Learn, you’ll discover how to use the key principles behind learning, memory, and attention to create materials that enable your audience to both gain and retain the knowledge and skills you’re sharing. Updated to cover new insights and research into how we learn and remember, this new edition includes new techniques for using social media for learning as well as two brand new chapters on designing for habit and best practices for evaluating learning, such as how and when to use tests. Using accessible visual metaphors and concrete methods and examples, Design For How People Learn, Second Edition will teach you how to leverage the fundamental concepts of instructional design both to improve your own learning and to engage your audience.

Reviews:

“this is a great book that avoids excessive jargon and overly scientific explanations. Well written and easy to read”

“The book is filled with practical tips that you can apply immediately in your corporate training”

Star rating: 4.6 out of 5

Design thinking for training and development – Laura Fletcher and Sharon Boller

Synopsis

Better Learning Solutions Through Better Learning Experiences. When training and development initiatives treat learning as something that occurs as a one-time event, the learner and the business suffer. Using design thinking can help talent development professionals ensure learning sticks to drive improved performance. Design Thinking for Training and Development offers a primer on design thinking, a human-centered process and problem-solving methodology that focuses on involving users of a solution in its design. For effective design thinking, talent development professionals need to go beyond the UX, the user experience, and incorporate the LX, the learner experience. In this how-to guide for applying design thinking tools and techniques, Sharon Boller and Laura Fletcher share how they adapted the traditional design thinking process for training and development projects.

Reviews

“Sharon and Laura did a tremendous job aligning the design thinking process to the specifics of creating training and development. This book is a true “how-to” guide that provides examples, tools, and step-by-step guidance on how to utilize design thinking in your own training creation.

“Whether you are a fan of design thinking, just getting started in training and development or just looking for a new tool to bring to your game, this book is for you”

Star rating: 4.7 out of 5

Coaching for performance, John Whitmore

Synopsis

An international bestseller, featuring the powerful GROW model, this book is the founding text of the coaching profession. It explains why enabling people to bring the best out of themselves is the key to driving productivity, growth, and engagement. A meaningful coaching culture has the potential to transform the relationship between organizations and employees and to put both on the path to long-term success.

Written by Sir John Whitmore, the pioneer of coaching, and Performance Consultants, the global market leaders in performance coaching, this extensively revised and extended edition will revolutionize the traditional approach to organizational culture. Brand new practical exercises, corporate examples, coaching dialogues, and a glossary, strengthen the learning process, whilst a critical new chapter demonstrates how to measure the benefits of coaching as a return on investment, ensuring this landmark new edition will remain at the forefront of professional coaching and leadership development.

Reviews

“A fantastic book, which has changed my viewpoints on coaching, mentoring, and leadership.”

“It is filled with useful ideas, exercises and most importantly brilliant questions that get the novice fast tracked into the world of coaching.”

Star rating: 4.7 out of 5

Coaching for performance, John Whitmore

Synopsis

An international bestseller, featuring the powerful GROW model, this book is the founding text of the coaching profession. It explains why enabling people to bring the best out of themselves is the key to driving productivity, growth, and engagement. A meaningful coaching culture has the potential to transform the relationship between organizations and employees and to put both on the path to long-term success.

Written by Sir John Whitmore, the pioneer of coaching, and Performance Consultants, the global market leaders in performance coaching, this extensively revised and extended edition will revolutionize the traditional approach to organizational culture. Brand new practical exercises, corporate examples, coaching dialogues, and a glossary, strengthen the learning process, whilst a critical new chapter demonstrates how to measure the benefits of coaching as a return on investment, ensuring this landmark new edition will remain at the forefront of professional coaching and leadership development.

Reviews

“A fantastic book, which has changed my viewpoints on coaching, mentoring, and leadership.”

“It is filled with useful ideas, exercises and most importantly brilliant questions that get the novice fast tracked into the world of coaching.”

Star rating: 4.7 out of 5

Kirkpatrick’s four levels of training evaluation

Synopsis

Don Kirkpatrick’s groundbreaking Four Levels of Training Evaluation is the most widely used training evaluation model in the world. Ask any group of trainers whether they rely on the model’s four levels Reaction, Learning, Behavior, and Results in their practice, and you’ll get an enthusiastic affirmation. But how many variations of Kirkpatrick are in use today? And what number of misassumptions and faulty practices have crept in over 60 years? The reality is: Quite a few. James and Wendy Kirkpatrick have written Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Training Evaluation to set the record straight.

Delve into James and Wendy’s new findings that, together with Don Kirkpatrick’s work, create the New World Kirkpatrick Model, a powerful training evaluation methodology that melds people with metrics. In Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Training Evaluation, discover a comprehensive blueprint for implementing the model in a way that truly maximizes your business’s results. Using these innovative concepts, principles, techniques, and case studies, you can better train people, improve the way you work, and, ultimately, help your organization meet its most crucial goals.

Review

“For anyone involved in workplace learning or training, this book is a must-read. It is very helpful and will provide insight into planning and evaluating workplace learning and training.”

“This update does a great job of clarifying any questions on how to use the Kirkpatrick 4 Levels of Evaluation plus additions to the original concepts.”

Star rating: 4.8 out of 5

The Workshop Survival Guide: How to design and teach educational workshops that work every time – Rob Fitzpatrick

Synopsis:

Most workshops don’t work. They fail to deliver real results and they fail to keep the audience energetic and engaged. They’re stressful to run and painful to attend.

Designing and running a brilliant workshop is easier than you think. It’s not about flashy showmanship or natural charisma. Instead, it’s about following a set of clear, simple rules for structuring and arranging the day

Discover and use key design principles and Learn the essential facilitation needed to solve unexpected problems and run a smooth, stress-free workshop.

Reviews:

“Part one is all about planning and building a skeleton for a great workshop, and I found the method described simple and effective; the KSW categorisation method described (knowledge, skills, wisdom) is especially useful and I have not seen it before! Part 2 is all about how you facilitate the workshop itself, everything from room layout to dealing with the unexpected; again, some great advice and tips from a team who have clearly been there, done it. All-in-all, a real gem of a book from which I picked up lots of useful thinking and process tips. If you read this book as a new facilitator, it will set you on the right path to workshop success; read as a pro and you will still find great advice and thinking that I have not found anywhere else.”

“I decided to read this before delivering three hour-long workshops at a CEO retreat. Thank god that I did! This book breaks down workshops step-by-step and provides extremely practical tips that took my workshops from good to great.”

Star rating: 4.8 out of 5

The Workshop Survival Guide: How to design and teach educational workshops that work every time – Rob Fitzpatrick

Synopsis:

Most workshops don’t work. They fail to deliver real results and they fail to keep the audience energetic and engaged. They’re stressful to run and painful to attend.

Designing and running a brilliant workshop is easier than you think. It’s not about flashy showmanship or natural charisma. Instead, it’s about following a set of clear, simple rules for structuring and arranging the day

Discover and use key design principles and Learn the essential facilitation needed to solve unexpected problems and run a smooth, stress-free workshop.

Reviews:

“Part one is all about planning and building a skeleton for a great workshop, and I found the method described simple and effective; the KSW categorisation method described (knowledge, skills, wisdom) is especially useful and I have not seen it before! Part 2 is all about how you facilitate the workshop itself, everything from room layout to dealing with the unexpected; again, some great advice and tips from a team who have clearly been there, done it. All-in-all, a real gem of a book from which I picked up lots of useful thinking and process tips. If you read this book as a new facilitator, it will set you on the right path to workshop success; read as a pro and you will still find great advice and thinking that I have not found anywhere else.”

“I decided to read this before delivering three hour-long workshops at a CEO retreat. Thank god that I did! This book breaks down workshops step-by-step and provides extremely practical tips that took my workshops from good to great.”

Star rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars

The Successful Virtual Classroom: How to Design and Facilitate Interactive and Engaging Live Online Learning – Darlene Christopher

Synopsis:

Virtual training gives learning professionals unprecedented flexibility, making it possible to reach participants globally and unite physically dispersed teams. But designers and facilitators must adapt their programs and delivery styles in order to be effective in this new medium. The Successful Virtual Classroom goes beyond introducing the technology, to offer trainers proven techniques tailored specifically to engage live online audiences.

Packed with easy-to-use tools, checklists, and worksheets – as well as case studies from Oracle, UPS, and more – the book introduces the PREP model for planning, rehearsing, executing, and then conducting a post mortem following the training event. Readers will learn how to:

  • Make the most of virtual classroom features such as content and screen sharing, annotation tools, polls, and breakout rooms
  • Weave chat responses into the discussion
  • Compensate for the absence of body language
  • Monitor feedback
  • Engage individuals with different learning styles
  • Encourage audience contribution
  • Meet the unique needs of global participants
  • Featuring icebreakers and interactive exercises designed for an online environment, this book helps readers create programs that truly drive learner engagement.

Reviews:

“As someone who has spent the greater part of the last 25 years in the learning industry–but very little of it in the virtual classroom space–I recently found myself needing a bit of help in figuring out how to design and facilitate an online learning event. Luckily, this guide was available to me, and it walked me through the entire process. The content here is really solid, makes sense, AND is presented in a way that lets you get to what you need….quickly.”

“Darlene has done us a great service by creating this book! It is full of practical advice, drawing from her extensive experience in designing and facilitating engaging online learning. Her PREP model is particularly useful, and offers a practical guide through the steps required to conduct successful online learning.”

Star rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Summary

Any of those learning and development books take your fancy? Hopefully there is at least one that’s piqued your interest. I know there are a couple I’ll be adding to my basket and reading list!

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