One way to ensure that I continue to learn and grow in my career is to read professional industry books. It’s a great way to make sure I stay abreast of new advancements in the eLearning/instructional design industry and advance my skills.

In one of the instructional design groups I belong to, we started a monthly book discussion. For our first book, we are reading Design for How People Learn (Voices That Matter) by Julie Dirksen . I’m excited to see what the book has to offer.

Here’s five additional books I plan on reading this year.

The Accidental Instructional Designer , Cammie Bean

I’ve always wanted to read this book. So many professionals find instructional design from interesting and unexpected paths. The Amazon write up states “Cammy Bean presents a fresh, modern take on instructional design for e-learning. Filled with her personal insights and tips, The Accidental Instructional Designer covers nearly every aspect of the e-learning design process, including understanding instructional design, creating scenarios, building interactivity, designing visuals, and working with SMEs. You’ll learn all about the CBT Lady and how to avoid her instructional design mistakes. Along the way, you’ll hear from a few other accidental instructional designers, get ideas for your own projects, and find resources and references to take your own practice to the next level.”

e-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning , Marina Arshavskiy 

The Amazon write up states “if you need a basic understanding of what instructional design for eLearning is, this book is for you. The text includes comprehensive tables, questionnaires, checklists, templates, and other helpful visuals … you will discover how to apply the key principles behind creating engaging materials that enable your audience to both gain and retain the knowledge and skills they are being taught.” 

Michael Allen’s Guide to e-Learning: Building Interactive, Fun, and Effective Learning Programs for Any Company , Michael Allen

Michael Allen is a legend in the eLearning industry. He’s one of the CEO and Chairman of the eLearning company, Allen Interactions. The write up states that the book “presents best practices for building interactive, fun, and effective online learning programs. This engaging text offers insight regarding what makes great e-learning, particularly from the perspectives of motivation and interactivity, and features history lessons that assist you in avoiding common pitfalls and guide you in the direction of e-learning success.”

Essentials of Online Course Design , Marjorie Vai

I choose this book because it offers a step-by-step approach to online learning course development. The write up states “At its core is a set of standards that are based on best practices in the field of online learning and teaching. Pedagogical, organizational, and visual design principles are presented and modeled throughout the book, and users will quickly learn from the guide’s hands-on approach. The course design process begins with the elements of a classroom syllabus which, after a series of guided steps, easily evolve into an online course outline.”

Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Training Evaluation , James D. Kirkpatrick

I love this book because so often in the corporate learning space, we focus on the first two levels of evaluation, Reaction and Learner; they’re the easiest to measure. Levels 3 and 4, Behavior and Results, are areas where I would like to explore more in my learning initiatives. This book outlines the ins and outs of ensuring your training initiatives are working by using Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Training Evaluation.

I’m excited to dig into these books.

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