Books for Trainers

Were you at an event or in a training session with Jonathan where he recommended a book about training, talent management or learning?  Chances are it is listed below.

These are the books and authors he recommends for deeper learning, based on comments and questions people share with him.  Check them out, read reviews from other folks, and get inspired.

The first group section of books is specific to talent development and workplace learning.  The second is broader and includes learning in other contexts, leadership, change, communication, and brain research.

If you know books for trainers that you think we should recommend, please let us know so we can review it and consider recommending it!

Books for Trainers that are Specific to Workplace Learning

These books are about learning and how learning fits into the world of talent development and the workplace learning ecosystem.

Books for Trainers: Art and Science of Training - Elaine BiechArt and Science of Training

Written by industry veteran Elaine Biech, this book gives you an excellent overview of the current theories of adult learning.  Biech finds the right balance between the recent research and classic traditions that re proven to support workplace learning.

This book for trainers is a must for anyone exploring the theories of learning and how they fit into the workplace, giving you confidence as a professional in the workplace learning ecosystem.

Books for Trainers: What Works in Talent Development - Elaine BiechWhat Works in Talent Management

Also written by Elaine Biech, this book provides an excellent framework on talent development and workplace learning, while also offering practical ideas and tools to adopt a talent development mindset in your work.

This book will give you agility to mold your training practice, so it supports talent development and gives you confidence working with clients in the workplace.

Books for Trainers: Evidence Based Training Methods - Evidence Based Training MethodsEvidence Based Training Methods

Written by Ruth Colvin Clark, this book peels back some of the myths that have influenced our industry and suggests learning methods that have empirical research to them.  Ideal for any trainer wanting to be sure the methods they use in the classroom will have impact.

This is one of those books for trainers that will give you the confidence to give up PowerPoint slides and myths like learning styles and help learners take their learning back to the workplace.

Books for Trainers: Virtual Training Basics - Cindy HuggetVirtual Training Basics

Written by Cindy Huggett, who is a leading expert on virtual training, this provides an important foundation for anyone new to delivering training through webinars.  The book offers an effective framework and loads of practical tools to help prevent your webinars being dull and ineffective.

This book provides great tools to give trainers more agility to be creative when delivering virtual learning.

Design for How People LearnDesign for How People Learn

Written by Julie Dirkson, this book offers practical advice for how to design learning that is easy to understand, remember and apply back in the workplace.  The latest edition also includes material on social learning and designing learning to build habits.

Books for Trainers: Rapid Video Development for Trainers - Jonathan HallsRapid Video Development for Trainers

Written by Jonathan Halls, considered a leading industry resource for trainers making instructional videos, this book looks at how to make training videos that are engaging and truly lead to learning. It covers how to plan explainer videos, produce the content and what equipment you need to make it look professional but not break your budget.  It’s the basis for our 3-day workshop and boot camp.

The book is designed to help trainers make awesome videos, do them fast and on a shoestring.

Books for Trainers: Rapid Media Development for Trainers - Jonathan HallsRapid Media Development for Trainers

Written by Jonathan Halls, this title looks at how to create content for learning across audio, video, text and graphics.  Drawing on his media experience the author offers a workflow to speed up production and insights on how to create content that is engaging, leads to learning and is professional.  This books is the basis for one of our media workshops for trainers.

It features a chapter written by learning design guru Connie Malamed on designing graphics for learning.

Books for Trainers: Visual Design Solutions - Connie MalamedVisual Design Solutions: Principals and Creative Inspiration for Learning Professionals

Written by the “e-learning coach”, Connie Malamed, this book provides clear practical guidance on how to design graphics that make learning easy.  Her tips are drawn on cognitive studies.

Malamed is the profession’s leading expert on visual design for learning and this will give you loads of focus to make graphics in your slides, workbooks and other media stand out and cause learning.

Play to Learn - Sharon Boller & Karl KappPlay to Learn: Everything You Need to Know About Designing Effective Learning Games

Written by Karl Kapp and Sharon Boller this book shows you how to dump the boring lecture and create games linked to business needs and learning objectives so that learning sticks.

Karl Kapp is the “gamification guru” and has written a number of ground-breaking books on gamification in learning.

Books for Trainers: Employee Development on a Shoestring - Halelly AzuleyEmployee Development on a Shoestring

Written by Halelly Azulay, this book offers practical tips and guidance on leveraging non-training activities to drive on-the-job development.  It offers templates and tools that can help trainers and managers develop their teams without breaking the bank.

Books for Trainers: The Adult Learner - Malcom KnowlesThe Adult Learner

Written by Knowles, Horton and Swanson, this is one of the classic books for trainers that everyone in adult education should read.  Knowles is famous for his theory of  “andragogy” and is often referred to as the Father of Adult Education.  Many of his ideas about making learning stick for adults which he developed in the 19070s and 1980s are the cornerstone of training practice today and have been widely validated by recent research.  This is the eighth edition and includes an additional chapter on  neuroscience and information technology and learning.

Books for Trainers: Memory & Cognition in Learning - Jonathan HallsMemory and Cognition in Learning

Written by Jonathan Halls, this is a short 20-page introduction to the way the brain learns.  It draws from both cognitive theory and recent neuroscience.  Published by the American Society for Training & Development for its InfoLine series.  This publication offers a quick read on the fundamentals of how we structure knowledge, remember it and apply it.


Books for Trainers from General Learning Perspective

Our focus at Trainer Mojo is on workplace learning.  However, learning is important in many other situations.  These situations include schools, universities, churches, community organizations and social groups.  The books below are less about workplace learning and more on learning in general.

Make it StickMake it Stick

Written by cognitive scientists Henry Roediger and Mark McDaniel with writer Peter Brown, this is not to be confused with the Heath Brothers’ book on communication that has a similar title.  Make it Stick, is one of those books for trainers that explains how learning really takes place and what educators need to do to ensure that learners really learn.  An excellent book, it’s based on empirical studies that cuts through many of the myths that have infected the workplace learning ecosystem.  It offers many techniques that will give you the confidence to drive learning harder both in the real and virtual classroom.

Brain Rules - John MedinaBrain Rules

In this book for trainers and learners, molecular biologist John Medina explains how we learn and what affect factors like sleep and stress have on the brain and learning.  Some may think that being a molecular biologist will make this author write a dry academic tome. Far from it.  This hugely insightful book is written in a lively and entertaining style and will equip you with loads of knowledge to be more confident and creative as a trainer.

Subliminal - Leonard MlodinowSubliminal

Written by Leonard Mlodinow, this book powerfully guides readers on a journey that explains how the unconscious mind shapes the way we see and understand the world.  He looks at perception, behavior, memory and social judgment.  It’s not an overbearing book – written very accessibly in a concise and engaging manner, this book will help you understand how people you help learn react and act in certain ways.  It will help you understand your actions and reactions.

Thinking Fast and Slow - Daniel KahnemanThinking Fast and Slow

Written by Daniel Kahneman, this book offers a fascinating look at the way our mind process information and make decisions.  He argues that our brains operate two thinking systems.  He calls the first thinking system 1, Fast Thinking, and the second, Slow Thinking.  While the author does not write specifically for workplace learning professionals but a broader audience, his insights can help trainers understand how people approach learning, how to structure content and how to respond to disruptions, giving us greater confidence to deliver transformative learning.

Scarf - David Rock

SCARF: a brain-based model for collaborating with and influencing others

Written by David Rock, this is a very brief overview of the SCARF model which helps us understand social triggers in the workplace.  While this paper is not written specifically for learning professionals but rather a broader audience of leaders and managers, we can use the SCARF model to understand triggers in classrooms that may shut down learning.  This PDF is available free.

Bounce - Matthew SyedBounce

Written by former ping pong champion, Matthew Syed, this is a terrific book that gets to the heart of practice and rehearsal and how important they are for learning and improving our skills.  This is a very readable book and the author gives many examples of extraordinary people – from Mozart to Beckham – and how they became great through rehearsal.  While not couched as cognitive psychology, this book reinforces many of the key themes you’ll pick up in our train-the-trainer programs.  It will challenge anyone who relies on PowerPoint to see learning in a different light.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that the links to these books for trainers are affiliate links.  If you click on these links and then purchase from Amazon, we’ll get a small commission.  If you’d prefer Amazon not pay us a commission, simply go to Amazon or another bookseller, type the title in and then order it.



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