Book Review – The Little Book of Learning By Reed Learning

IntroductionLittle Book of Learning

This is the fourth and last of the little books from Reed Learning that i’m reviewing. This book just like the previous ones has various short articles which look at the importance of learning. As with the three previous little books, it has 21 pages of content covering topics that experienced learning practitioners will be familiar with such as:

  • How the brain works
  • Six thinking hats
  • How to outsource learning and development

Following are short reviews of all the articles in the book.

Training? At a time like this: This article introduces the book and also reinforces the importance of training. It has quotes from Sir Stuart Rose of Marks and Spencer and John Denham, a former Skills Secretary on the importance of developing people.

How your brain works: Illustrates different parts of the brain and the function they play. Also explains the effect of sleep on the brain.

How to make the cost of learning add up: Explains the usual about how to make training viable, which is: identify an end result and demonstrate how it will impact the bottom line. Using the Kirkpatrick model to demonstrate Return on Investment is also mentioned. It also outlines what a written business case for learning should include.

How to think from different angles: A quick summary of the six thinking hats framework created by Edward De Bono. The Six Thinking Hats are:

  • White Hat: For strictly facts and information.
  • Red Hat: For feelings, emotions and gut reactions.
  • Black Hat: For making critical judgement and finding flaws.
  • Yellow Hat: Spotting benefits and seeking harmony.
  • Green Hat: Creating alternatives, letting ideas take you where they lead.
  • Blue Hat: Thinking about thinking, controlling

The thinking hats can be used to consider all aspects of a problem.

Choosing the right training for right now: Quick advice on how to choose training and skills that will make a difference. It outlines key questions to ask and some actions to take.

How to develop an encyclopedic: Five ways to develop an encyclopedic memory is discussed. The five are:

  1. Get in the mood
  2. Eat smarter
  3. Jog your pegs
  4. Create landmarks
  5. Terra cognita (create a visual prop of what you are trying to remember)

How to sound like a learning expert: A five question quiz to test your knowledge of some learning and development tools covering psychometric tests, Kirkpatrick evaluation model and learning styles.

How to check your outsourced L&D provision is cost-effective: Outlines three questions to ask an outsourced learning and development provider.

How to outsource learning and development: Three aspects of outsourcing are discussed:

  1. Reasons for outsourcing.
  2. Questions to ask yourself before outsourcing.
  3. A range of outsourcing options.

Six ways to influence people: The six ways discussed are:

  1. Eye contact
  2. Building rapport
  3. Earning respect
  4. Reciprocity
  5. Improving timing
  6. Letting go

Achieving big things with a small learning budget: Lists seven ways to use a limited budget more productively. Some of the ideas given are:

  • Find a friend or colleague who wants to do the same course as you. You might be able to negotiate a discount.
  • Use blended learning.
  • Use flexible learning options like in-house drop-in surgeries, morning evening sessions and bite-sized courses.

How to be charismatic: This article discusses four ways to be charismatic. They are:

  1. Charisma is about channeling positive energy to other people.
  2. Improve your posture
  3. Be emotional
  4. Think, pause speak

How to negotiate skillfully with suppliers: All about negotiating with training suppliers. It lists seven tips, some of which are:

  • Don’t be afraid to talk about money.
  • Don’t be too quick to name a price and don’t take the first offer.
  • Aim high by asking for more than you expect, you might get it.

How to learn everything in a few mouse clicks: This is really just a list of some key websites and a brief explanation of what they provide. some of the listed sites are, LinkedIn, Twitter, Wikipedia, Delicious, YouTube, Ning, Ted, WikiHow and Businessballs.

Learning to learn online: A short article on knowing that formal training courses are not always the answer, and the need to embrace informal learning such as online communities, forums, and using sites such as Google, and LinkedIn. An interesting quote used is, “The problem is no longer finding or memorizing information, the web has largely automated that. The challenge now is to learn in the new environment: how do you sort the wheat from the chaff, scanning, filtering, and assessing the quality of data and advice available?”

How to keep people buoyant when the economy sinks: Six ideas are listed on how to do this. They include:

  1. Finding and providing affordable perks for staff.
  2. Keep people updated on how the business is progressing and make sure they understand how they are making a difference.
  3. Involve people in goal setting and give them opportunities to learn and take on new opportunities.
  4. Try something innovative, move away from the norm.
  5. Involve the company in things that the people are proud of. For instance going for an award.
  6. Don’t spread fear through worry, be enthusiastic and motivate others.

What are you waiting for? Get out there and have a go: Some ideas for transferring learning to the workplace after attending training. Here are some of them:

  • When someone returns to work after training ask them that, what are the top three things you learnt? What are you going to do as a result of attending the training? By when? What can I do to help (by the manager)?
  • Pair up people who have trained together and get them to share what they have learned with others.
  • Create an online forum for people to share ideas.
  • Use action learning.
  • Create an environment that allows people to try things without being afraid of failure.

 

 

 

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