Book Review – The Little Book of Inspiration

The Little Book of InspirationIntroduction
This is the third of the “little book” series that I am reviewing from Reed Learning. Written in 2014 in conjunction with Learning and Skills 2014 and Learning and Skills Group, it aims to investigate the concept of inspiration in learning. In other words it tries to answer the question, How can we best inspire others and ourselves to seek out learning opportunities and learn more effectively? In the custom of the previous little books I reviewed, this is also a tiny book. It has 21 pages covering 13 articles. Some of the writers include Clive Shepherd, Nigel Paine, Paul Matthews, Donald H Taylor and Harold Jarche. Following is a brief review of each article.

Inspiration Trumps Information: Clive Shepherd argues here that inspiration is more important than information. His premise – inspired people are more likely to be more effective learners. Hence inspirational teachers and trainers are more able to encourage people to seek learning themselves.

How Important is Your L&D Team: Nigel Paine writes that learning professionals only need one mantra fixed in their head: “I change lives; I change individuals, and I change organisations.” Learning and development is all about changing individuals and work places so that organisations can be better at what they do. That is Nigel’s point in this article.

Gritspiration: In this article Paul Stoltz discusses a main quality that enables us to inspire ourselves and others. That quality according to Paul is GRIT and it is made up of three components which are adversity, energy and example.

The Link Between Leaders & Learning: This article tries to explain the link between learning and leadership. It explains the fact that learning in adults is goal oriented thus when people have a goal they take action, they learn and they reach to achieve the goal. Leaders therefore have responsibility to make learning available to people so they can achieve their goals.

How To Inspire Through Stories: Deborah Frances White explains why stories are so important for inspiring people and how they are much more effective than the usual PowerPoint presentations for communicating.

The Joy of Vague: This article focuses on one key learning point, great learning is not fast, its slow and takes time. A quote used to describe is, “powerful learners are more like the tortoise than the hare.”  People who spend more time learning something uncover deeper knowledge and come up with more satisfying solutions.

Just Take a Deep Breath: An explanation of the impact of breathing on the brain and off course how this impacts learning positively. Plus an encouragement for us to exercise more. Written by Donald H Taylor.

Different Types of Learners: Jane Hart present s grid describing different types of learners. The four types of learners presented on the grid are:

  1. Willing learners
  2. Unwilling learners
  3. Self-directed learners
  4. Directed learners

You Can’t Enforce Curiosity: Curiosity is necessary for learning. The more the curiosity the better the learning. Unfortunately as some of us grow up we lose our sense of curiously. Learning must therefore be delivered in a way that it challenges people to think for themselves.

Engaged For Work: Harold Jarche argues in this article that given the change with new technology and many new jobs getting automated people must get creative and learn new skills that can’t be automated such as networking skills and things like coding. Ultimately we must all take control of our development and become continuous learners.

Becoming The Future: Here’s a quote – Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. It’s by Leo Tolstoy and is used in the article to help us understand the necessity of changing our perspective to match up to new ways of helping people learn in a constantly changing world. According to the writer, Brian Solis, “I am in constant pursuit of accepting who I am today and investing in who I want to be tomorrow.” For those who want to continually get better the distance between who they are now and who they want to be is separated by their aspirations and actions.

Transforming Work: In this article David Wilson states that learning needs to be about transforming ourselves and the work we do. Learning shouldn’t be about completing some mandatory course or ticking some check list but about improving performance on a consistent basis. He writes that, “The inspiration for learning in business is the ability to do better work, and the ability to work better.”

Inspiration Through Evaluation: Jim Kirkpatrick believes that evaluation can be a source of inspiration for learning. He mentions two ways evaluation can be inspiring:

  1. Firstly by using a technique during training called pull-up-a-chair(PUC)
  2. Secondly by demonstrating the ultimate value of a learning programme.

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