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15 Must-Read Learning and Development Books in 2023

learning and development books book vault illustrationThe world of learning and development (L&D) can be tricky to navigate. Thankfully, there are a wide variety of amazing books and resources to help light your way.

Each author helps to illuminate the path by providing a unique perspective and access to their own experiences. This ensures that each book provides useful reading material for L&D professionals.

Here at Growth Engineering, we are all about continuous self-improvement. That’s why we always have an endless supply of learning and development books on our reading list!

Today, we are going to share some of our favourite books for you to improve your training initiatives in 2023. As such, this article is a round-up of some of the most informative and engaging learning and development books out there.

Please note: This list is in no particular order.

Without further ado, let’s go!

Top 15 Learning and Development Books

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning

By Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, & Mark A. McDaniel

Make It Stick by Peter Brown, Henry Roediger III and Mark McDaniel, turns common ideas on their heads. In doing so, this book challenges typical beliefs about how we best study, form habits and create routines.

The authors draw on recent advances and discoveries in various disciplines, whilst focusing on cognitive psychology. They then offer concrete techniques on how learners can supercharge their productivity.

With this in mind, Make It Stick is a perfect read for learners who are interested in lifelong learning and self-improvement. This is true whether you are a student, teacher, trainer, L&D professional, or just love learning and development books.

Map It: The Hands-on Guide to Strategic Learning Design

By Cathy Moore

Map It is an awesome book written by Cathy Moore. Cathy is a globally recognised training designer whose passion lies in saving the world from boring and ineffective instruction.

She uses humour and fun examples to walk readers through action mapping. It’s a visual approach to analysing your learners’ needs and creating more targeted and efficient training.

As such, Map It helps training professionals turn client training requests and goals into achievable projects that make a real difference.

Workplace Learning: How to Build a Culture of Continuous Employee Development

By Nigel Paine

Nigel Paine is a change-focused leader who runs a consultancy all about leadership, creativity, innovation and online learning. He has put his vast global experience to great use in writing this book.

Workplace Learning helps companies and individuals to create a continuous learning culture within an organisation. The ultimate goal is to improve employee engagement and drive business performance.

The book gives practical, evidence-based advice and draws on Nigel’s previous experiences in the industry. As a result, readers will have all the knowledge and tools they need to implement and maintain a successful learning culture.

Play to Learn: Everything You Need to Know About Designing Effective Learning Games

By Sharon Boller & Karl Kapp

Karl Kapp and Sharon Boller are both recognised experts in the gamification and training industries. Play to Learn harnesses their expertise in gamification and points out that learners win big when trainers use games.

The book bridges the gap between games and instructional design. As such, it helps L&D professionals to grow their game literacy and game design skills in order to craft more effective training experiences.

Here at Growth Engineering, we love gamification. In fact, it’s a big part of our product suite, and one of our favourite ways to supercharge learner engagement. But that’s just one of the reasons why we love this book!

Design for How People Learn

By Julie Dirksen

Julie Dirksen, the author of Design for How People Learn, is an instructional design pro and respected speaker. She has won awards for her work in the field of workplace learning and performance.

In her book, Julie enriches the learning and development industry by exploring the exponential speed at which products, technologies and workplaces change. This means that everyone needs to learn continually, or risk getting left behind.

However, creating engaging training is not easy. And that’s where Design for How People Learn comes in! Readers will discover how to use the key principles behind learning, memory and attention to craft better training materials.

Artificial Intelligence for Learning – How to use AI to Support Employee Development

By Donald Clark

Artificial Intelligence for Learning harnesses Donald Clark’s 30+ years of experience in online learning, simulations, VR, mobile and AI projects.

His book explores the huge opportunities AI is creating for L&D and employee training. However, applying AI successfully is no easy task, especially with a limited understanding of how it can make a difference.

Luckily, Artificial Intelligence for Learning is one of the best books out there to give guidance on how AI can support various aspects of the learning and development process, including content curation, personalisation, evaluation, assessment and reporting.

This makes it an essential read for any L&D professional in need of learning more about AI’s role in the learning process. Not only is this book helpful, but it’s also an interesting read with practical examples from Netflix, British Airways, the NHS and more.

Learning Ecosystems – Creating Innovative, Lean and Tech-Driven Learning Strategies

By Katja Schipperheijn

As the title suggests, Katja Schipperheijn’s book is all about learning ecosystems and tech-driven learning strategies. She is an internationally recognised learning strategist whose consultancy focuses on fostering growth in human-machine symbiosis.

As such, Katja’s book Learning Ecosystems helps readers build and sustain nimble, adaptable, resilient and future-proofed organisations through integrated learning technology solutions.

While her book explores lean learning, data analytics and innovative learning tech, it also guides L&D professionals on human-centric innovation. The book focuses on demonstrating the value of continuous development by offering various tools for creating winning learning cultures.

Innovative Learning Analytics for Evaluating Instruction – A Big Data Roadmap to Effective Online Learning

By Theodore W. Frick, Rodney D. Myers, Cesur Dagli & Andrew F. Barrett

Innovative Learning Analytics for Evaluating Instruction is the brainchild of Theodore Frick, Rodney Myers, Cesur Dagli and Andrew Barrett. Combined, they have vast instructional design, research analysis, learning technology and L&D experience.

Even the best training initiatives are guaranteed to fail without analytics. Innovative Learning Analytics for Evaluating Instruction is a comprehensive book that guides readers through the application of a forward-thinking research methodology.

This methodology uses big data to evaluate the effectiveness of online learning instruction. The book offers practical and conceptual research overviews, design principles, historical examples and more to showcase the important role that data has to play within training programmes.

As such, it’s a great resource for any L&D professionals looking to boost their instructional design, learner engagement, online learning, programme evaluation and research methods.

Bringing the Neuroscience of Learning to Online Teaching – An Educator’s Handbook

By Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa

Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa is an educator and instructor with years of experience. Her focus is on neuroscience-backed learning, and this is the expertise she discusses in her book, Bringing the Neuroscience of Learning to Online Teaching.

This practical book draws on the best of neuroscience to inform readers about decision-making in the digital learning era. And we couldn’t be more interested in the topic! After all, Growth Engineering is all about brain-science-backed online instruction.

Bringing the Neuroscience of Learning to Online Teaching is especially useful for teachers, educators or L&D professionals who are moving away from traditional face-to-face classroom environments. After all, the book shows how to use digital tools and approaches to improve eLearning interventions.

Agile for Instructional Designers

By Megan Torrance

Agile for Instructional Designers was written by Megan Torrance, a learning and instructional design professional.

Today’s businesses function amid greater volatility and uncertainty than ever before. This can make it difficult for L&D professionals to keep up. Luckily, agile instructional design can help.

In her book, Megan proposes using agile methodologies to manage training initiatives. Similarly, the book helps readers identify where traditional linear processes fail to meet current business needs.

The book comes with various templates that help L&D professionals align goals, create learner personas and estimate, plan and develop iterative training. These templates help you to embrace change in learning and development.

The Accidental Instructional Designer: Learning Design for the Digital Age

By Cammy Bean

Cammy Bean, who has designed online learning experiences since 1996, presents a modern take on instructional design for online learning. Her book is filled with case studies, examples and her personal insights and tips.

The Accidental Instructional Designer covers all aspects of the design process. This includes, for example, developing scenarios, increasing interactivity, creating visuals, and working with subject matter experts (SMEs).

With Cammy’s tips, you are guaranteed to never create boring eLearning ever again. In addition to providing new techniques and strategies, this book helps you to become an intentional instructional designer rather than an accidental one.

Learning Science for Instructional Designers: From Cognition to Application

By Clark N. Quinn

Clark Quinn is a pro when it comes to creating learning technology strategies, and he has put his knowledge to good use by writing numerous books on the topic.

His book, Learning Science for Instructional Designers: From Cognition to Application, distils the current scope of learning science into a comprehensive and easy-to-read guide.

It helps readers to understand how learning works and what facilitates or hinders it. This knowledge will help learning professionals to create effective training initiatives that engage and delight.

Similarly, it helps L&D professionals to design instruction that removes all distractions and minimises cognitive load while ensuring knowledge transfer and retention. As such, this book is perfect for anyone looking to build instructional experiences backed by learning science.

Long Life Learning: Preparing for Jobs That Don’t Even Exist Yet

By Michelle Weise

The future of learning and work looks vastly different to what we have been used to in recent years. Michelle Weise’s book is a visionary resource for the future of learning and work.

And that’s where Michelle’s experience lies. As an entrepreneur-in-residence and senior advisor, she has helped to prepare working-age adults for the jobs of today and tomorrow for the last decade.

Long Life Learning: Preparing for Jobs That Don’t Even Exist Yet gives readers a glimpse into the near future. Michelle discusses careers that last 100 years and education that lasts a lifetime.

The book gives interesting insights into how our extended lifespan affects our careers and how this will shape our educational demands. As such, it’s a perfect resource for anyone interested in the future of education. We sure are!

Design Thinking for Training and Development

By Sharon Boller & Laura Fletcher

The previously mentioned Sharon Boller also collaborated with Laura Fletcher, a seasoned learning consultant, to write a book on design thinking. The book offers a primer on human-centred training design processes and problem-solving methodologies.

In a nutshell, this book helps readers understand how they can create better learning solutions through better learning experiences. In fact, the focus is on exploring how L&D professionals can involve users in the design of a solution.

Design Thinking for Training and Development is a hands-on how-to guide that shares tools and techniques on how to use design thinking in learning. In fact, Sharon and Laura tweaked the traditional design thinking process to suit training and development projects better.

Learning Habits – Drive a Learning Culture to Improve Employee and Business Performance

By Sarah Nicholl

Last, but not least, we wanted to include Sarah Nicholl’s new book, which will be published in April 2023. Sarah is a learning strategist with more than 20 years of experience in learning transformation programmes.

This book focuses on learning habits and how learning cultures can help to improve employee and business performance. As such, we couldn’t be more excited for its release.

Learning Habits explores why and how a learning culture is essential for organisations to outperform their competition. Then, it details and explains what habits are necessary for a successful learning culture, and how to develop them at individual, team and organisational levels.

Final Words

There are hundreds of useful books that help learning and development professionals supercharge their skills, knowledge and training programmes. This list is merely a drop in the ocean of all the amazing resources out there and highlights some of our recent or upcoming favourites.

We hope you find these books useful in expanding your knowledge. We made sure to cover books on various topics to ensure you can get an in-depth understanding of the learning and development industry as a whole.

As such, we are sure you will find a useful resource regardless of whether you are a seasoned professional or just starting out. Happy reading!

We’ve got some excellent resources of our own. Make sure to explore our Resources Library today to stay informed.

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