Monday, September 15, 2014
Rachel Burnham writes: Here are some wonderful, practical yet inspiring books to help you to create relevant and useful learning opportunities that aren’t limited to face to face delivery in a training room. They aren’t brand new books – but they are full of useful advice that can help you to try out different approaches and build on the experience of experts.
‘The Blended Learning Cookbook’ 2nd Edition by Clive Shepherd (2008) Published by Saffron Interactive.
As the title suggests this book is all about blended learning and how to design learning effectively using a mix of learning methods. It opens with three short sections which provide some background to the topic and overall thinking, before moving onto the core of the book which is a series of practical examples of different blended programmes designed to meet a range of needs. The great thing about these examples is the sheer variety and this means that it can give you some great ideas for starting points for designs to meet needs in your own organisation.
‘Informal Learning At Work – How to Boost Performance in Tough Times’ by Paul Matthews (2013) Published by Three Faces Publishing.
In this book Paul Matthews explores informal learning – those very many learning opportunites beyond formal courses and education. He sets out the advantages to be gained from recognising & encouraging informal learning in organisations and sets out how L&D teams can encourage a learnscape that facilitates this. He includes many examples to illustrate his points and provides evidence of the effectiveness of informal learning. He includes lots of examples of different forms of informal learning, so that you get a great sense of the range of possibilities.
My only criticism of this book, is that there are sometimes so many examples provided that you lose the narrative thread (well I did!), but this does make it a great resource bank.
I have also written about informal learning in an earlier post 'Lift off for Informal Learning'.
‘Social Media for Trainers – Techniques for Enhancing and Extending Learning’ by Jane Bozarth (2010) Published by John Wiley.
This book has a very special place on my bookshelf, as it played a significant part in getting me into using Twitter. I had taken it along to a workshop to share with some CLDP students, one of whom was already on Twitter. Before the workshop started she tweeted Jane Bozarth and by the time we broke for morning coffee, we had had an answer back from Jane! I was sold on Twitter from that moment!
The book is both great as a guide to key examples of social media – Twitter, Facebook, Blogs and Wikis and even better at providing many, many suggestions of how these can be used to enable learning. These suggestions are set out so clearly, that you don’t need to be particularly tech-savvy to see how these can work and to give them a go.
‘Job Aids & Peformance Support – Moving from Knowledge in the Classroom to Knowledge Everywhere’ by Allison Rossett & Lisa Schafer (2007) Published by John Wiley.
Job aids & performance support are playing an increasingly important role alongside learning opportunities. Performance support enables us to draw upon resources at the point of need to enable us to do a task efficiently & effectively. This means that there are a whole range of work related tasks that we no longer need to learn in their entirety, but can rely on finding the resources to help us, either to prepare or to use during completion of the task. At a time when there is more and more that we need to be able to do and constant change in the information we need to work with, it makes sense to not only use learning to meet these needs, but also performance support. Sometimes learning on its own will be appropriate, sometimes performance support will be sufficient and sometimes both will be needed.
Again, this book is packed out with examples & illustrations to enable you to see the possibilities and start to make use of them yourself.
‘The New Virtual Classroom’ by Ruth Colvin Clark & Ann Kwinn (2007) Published by John Wiley
I found this an invaluable guide to designing & delivering webinars/virtual classrooms ie usually short learning sessions delivered via the internet which bring learners at a distance together at the same time. It provides excellent suggestions and tips for creating effective interactive webinars to meet different sorts of learning needs from computer based skills to knowledge & understanding The book is all based very firmly on research and experience. I have also found that it has influenced my practice in face to face delivery, as many of the points have a wider application.
I have also written about my own experience of webinars in a previous post, which you may find of interest 'My Learning About Webinars'.
Each one of these five books has earned its place on my bookshelves. With this collection to draw upon, there is no reason to limit yourself and your organisation to face to face learning in workshops and every reason to consider other options.
I would love to hear your comments on these book suggestions and also your own ideas. What has been your experience of making use of these other learning methods?
Burnham L & D Consultancy helps L&D professionals become even more effective. I am particularly interested in blended learning, the uses of social media for learning, evaluation and anything that improves the impact of learning on performance.
Follow me on Twitter @BurnhamLandD