• Irina Ketkin

5 books to expand your Learning and Development horizons

Summer is here! What a wonderful opportunity to catch up on reading while sunbathing or hiking to your favorite location. And if you work in Learning and Development, you might be having trouble finding books that are not only enjoyable to read but can also broaden your horizons and provide you with new skills to use when you return to work. We've been there, done that, and have a list of books to show for it. Here are our top 5 recommendations for Learning and Development practitioners.

Table of contents:

101 Learning and Development Tools

The Accelerated Learning Handbook

Chief Talent Officer / Chief Learning Officer

The Learning Imperative

Learning and Development Practice in the Workplace



101 Learning and Development Tools

by Keneth Fee

One of the most useful books you'll ever read is this one. We take it out every day for a quick consultation even though it has a special place on our bookcase.

The list of crucial resources Keneth Fee has compiled is superb and covers every phase of the learning and development cycle. Four sections make up the book:

  1. Learning Needs Analysis

  2. Planning Learning

  3. Implementing Learning

  4. Evaluating learning

Each section is divided into essential tools, each with a thorough explanation of how it works, examples, and recommended reading.

Check out this book if you're interested in learning how to create a community of practice, how to use storytelling in learning and development, or what a talent web is.



The Accelerated Learning Handbook

by Dave Meier

You know those books that have a profound impact on your life? For me, this is it. I first purchased the Accelerate Learning Handbook in 2013. I still remember reading this, making notes at the end of each page, then rushing to my computer to use the methods in my own training sessions.

Dave Meier is the founder of the Accelerated Learning Training Method. He advocates incorporating all of our senses into an effective training strategy that puts the learner at the center. His approach emphasizes four stages of learning:

  1. Preparation

  2. Presentation

  3. Practice

  4. Performance

Regardless of the subject, each phase includes a ton of ideas and examples that make it simple to incorporate into your own sessions.

Most importantly, Meier explains the logic behind the approach. He says that for optimal learning to occur, you need to apply the SAVI learning principles:

  1. Somatic: learning by moving and doing

  2. Auditory: learning by talking and hearing

  3. Visual: learning by observing and picturing

  4. Intellectual: learning by problem-solving and reflecting.

Plus, you can read about other AL strategies, including music, themes, pictograms, question-raising, learning games, visuals, natural light, and aromas.



Chief Talent Officer / Chief Learning Officer

by Tamar Elkeles, Jack J. Phillips, Patricia Pulliam Phillips

Here we have not one but two books by the same authors. These books will be especially helpful if you're curious to learn more about HR and development experts involved in creating talent strategies for their firms.

In 2010, Tamar Elkeles received the Chief Learning Officer magazine's CLO of the Year award. As head of the ROI Institute and a well-known authority on measurement and evaluation, Jack Phillips offers advice to Fortune 500 organizations. And that is only the start of these two books' outstanding qualities.

The authors dive deep into the strategic and operational sides of L&D. From formulating a strategy to determining how to best meet the goals of the business, shifting to performance enhancement, devising value-based delivery, fostering an innovative and engaging culture, and finally proving the value through analytics and ROI.

It includes an excellent breakdown of crucial procedures, scenarios, and calculations that any CTO or CLO would be required to handle in the course of their careers. It simplifies the complex into something extremely simple.

This is a must-read if you're interested in adding value through learning and talent development.



The Learning Imperative

by Mark Burns and Andy Griffith

I first came across Mark Burns and Andy Griffith when I purchased their book Engaging Learners. To find out what makes a teacher or a school exceptional, they reached out to 10,000 teachers in the UK. The book had many different strategies and examples of how teaching can be made more fun, engaging and memorable. And while it wasn't aimed at adult learners, there were a lot of overlaps. After all, learning is a process we all go through, and we were all children at one point. I loved their book so much that it inspired a day-long training on Feedback skills for team leaders.

Imagine my delights when in 2019, I attended the CIPD conference in London and saw their new book - The Learning Imperative. And I wasn't disappointed.

The contents feature 3 parts:

  1. Learning and your team

  2. Overcoming barriers to learning

  3. Designing effective learning

The book's Learning-Performance Matrix was my "aha" moment. It is a tool for mapping each team member's performance level (from high to low) and level of preparedness for learning (from open to closed).

As a matter of fact, at the time, I was running a particularly difficult management development program. And this matrix helped me understand some of the issues and challenges and what I can do to address these. Stay tuned since this is a topic all on its own.



Learning and Development Practice in the Workplace

by Kathy Beevers and Andrew Rea

The final book on our list caught me a little off guard when I originally bought it. I had purchased numerous books on L&D over the years, but most of them were academic, scarcely offered any actual examples or case studies, or explored how to put what they were advocating into reality. That is until I started reading Andrew Rea's and Kathy Beever's book.

The L&D cycle's many phases are well covered by the writers. If you purchase this book, you'll discover:

  • What does it mean to be an effective L&D practitioner

  • How L&D works with and within the organization

  • The most effective techniques to determine L&D needs, create activities, carry them out, and assess their effects

  • How to make learning easier using technology

  • How to increase student engagement

  • How to encourage group and social learning

  • How to assist staff members through mentoring and coaching

  • How to plan L&D activities

The authors explore many different options because they are mindful that training is not the only method of learning. The examples and helpful suggestions are priceless. Not to mention that each chapter includes self-testing exercises, a helpful summary, and a list of sources for further exploration of the topics.

This book is an excellent resource for learning and development professionals. It includes a ton of research and best practices, so it's perfect for those who want to become experts in the field.



Practical education for Learning and Development practitioners is at the heart of what we do at The L&D Academy. This is why the books on this list were primarily picked for their usefulness and applicability back on the job. All opinions expressed here are our own and in no way reflect those of the writers.

Do you agree with our list? What books are you planning to read this summer? Comment below or tag us on social media.