What is your deserted island book list?

I have seen a number of deserted island book lists recently. The idea is what books would you like to have with you  if you were stranded on a deserted island. Each list focuses on a different topic.

There are so many books that have had an impact on my approach to learning, it is difficult to narrow the list. Below is my list based on these different topics. Let’s start with adult learning.

Adult Learning

Experience And Education* by John Dewey – Dewey had a vision of what education should be about, he was well ahead of his peers. His ideas are applicable today, and unfortunately ignored. Dewey points out that learners build upon their experiences, but their experiences are uniquely their own. Dewey helped me better understand that learning is lifelong and best occurs in a naturally environment rather than isolate learning into subject silos. Learning is also social, we learn from others through dialogue.

The Meaning of Adult Education* by Eduard Lindeman – Lindeman points out that learning is a natural process and it is a lifelong endeavor. These are two concepts that I agree with, but he was the first writer that wrote what I was thinking. Lindeman criticizes the traditional approach to education, again, I agree with him.

The Modern Practice of Adult Education: From Pedagogy to Andragogy* by Malcolm Knowles – Knowles outlines what an adult educator is, and what they should do. More importantly, Knowles provided insight on the adult learner. This insight has significantly changed how I prepare and deliver my instruction.

Education in General

Turning Learning Right Side Up: Putting Education Back on Track* by Russel Ackoff and Daniel Greenberg – This book is a harsh critique on traditional education. They advocate an educational approach closer to what Dewey and Lindeman envisioned.

The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning: How to Turn Training and Development into Business Results* by Calhoun Wick, Roy Pollock, and Andrew Jefferson – The authors point out that typical corporate training results in a 15% learning transfer. They stress that more time and energy needs to be placed on supporting learning after the instruction period concludes to help with learning transfer.

Enhancing Adult Motivation to Learn: A Comprehensive Guide for Teaching All Adults* by Raymond J. Wlodkowski – This is another book that has changed how I approach my instruction. Wlodkowski provides 60 strategies to help keep learners engaged and motivated. Here is a serious of posts I wrote about Wlodkowski’s book:

Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World* by Jane McGonigal – McGonigal points out that life does not have to be a grind, and that we should lighten up and play more games. I wrote more about this in Are we too serious? Should we play more games?

Informal Learning

Informal Learning: Rediscovering the Natural Pathways That Inspire Innovation and Performance* by Jay Cross – Cross prompted me to explore ideas about informal learning in the workplace. Since individuals spend over 70% of their learning in an informal mode, how can we help them learn better in the workplace.

All Learning is Self-Directed* by Daniel Tobin – Tobin focuses on self-directed or informal learning in the workplace. A great resource for ideas on fostering a positive learning environment in the workplace.

Adult’s Learning Projects: A Fresh Approach to Theory and Practice in Adult Learning (Research in education series)* by Allen Tough – Tough’s book opened my eyes to the world of informal learning. I was fascinated by the number of projects that adults take on during the year. I was equally fascinated that adult learners will reference friends, family, and even non-human resources before they talk to the professionals. This means we need to beef up our online resources.

Learning Support

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right* by Atul Gawande – Gawande opened my eyes to the power of checklists as a performance enhancement tool and learning support aid. He provides excellent examples where a simple checklist helped save lives and improve performance.

Job Aids and Performance Support: Moving From Knowledge in the Classroom to Knowledge Everywhere* by Allison Rossett and Lisa Schafer – This book illustrates the importance to develop aids whether physical or virtual to support performance and learning. The authors focus on two categories of aids: sidekicks and planners. Planners are used before and after a task whereas sidekicks are used during the task. This post talks more about this important concept

Designing mLearning: Tapping into the Mobile Revolution for Organizational Performance* by Clark Quinn – This book highlights the importance mobile devices have on the future of learning. Quinn provides recommendations for establishing a mobile learning strategy. He also stresses the fact that a majority of learning is informal.

Life in General

Never Eat Alone, Expanded and Updated: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time* by Keith Ferrazzi – This is a inspirational book that helps guide my relationships with others. Ferrazzi advocates for developing giving relationships and networks. He also advocates making time to connect with others. Based on his guidance, I am always looking for a friend to break bread with while I am on the road.

This is my list. What is on your list?


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