Top 8 eLearning Books All L&D Professionals Should Be Reading

 elearning books

Even teachers need to be taught, and, although the spirit of elearning is to largely replace physical text (and other media) with online resources, there is still a lot of literature being produced in book form that elearning professionals really should be revising. There are many books to choose from that could have made this list, but the ones provided below all contain the essentials, and some of them document the more forward-thinking innovations that we all need to be aware of if we are to continue to play an informed and meaningful part in the elearning revolution.

We’ll start with 5 great books for beginners, and then move onto the more in-depth offerings that will help you take your elearning professionalism to the next level.

For Beginners

1. The E-Learning Handbook

The E-Learning Handbook, edited by Saul Carliner and Patti Shank, provides a critical overview on the current state of e-learning and includes entries from some of the world’s top elearning specialists and experts, including Jan Herrington and Patrick Lambe. The book looks at technological, design, research and philosophical issues that underline the modern world of elearning. Each chapter offers a summary chart at the end so key points can be easily referenced.

2. E-Learning By Design

Perhaps one of the most famous books on elearning, William Horton’s E-learning By Design presents detailed and effective solutions for all manner of elearning design and planning problems. It includes a flexible and systematic approach that covers every phase of elearning design, and a book that no self-respecting L&D professional should ever have to admit that they haven’t read.

3. Delivering E-Learning: A Complete Strategy For Design, Application and Assessment

Authored by Kenneth Fee, Delivering E-Learning: A Complete Strategy For Design, Application and Assessment is an excellent guide on how to deliver and execute elearning well, so that its standards are always at least equal, if not superior, to the more traditional methods of education. Considering poor practices of the past, Fee mainly focuses his attention on improvements for the future.

4. E-Learning And The Science Of Instruction: Proven Guidelines For Consumers and Designers Of Multimedia Learning

Authors Ruth Colvin Clark and Richard E. Mayer offer a thoroughly revised edition of the bestselling E-Learning And The Science Of Instruction: Proven Guidelines For Consumers and Designers Of Multimedia Learning. The book offers comprehensive guidelines for designing and developing synchronous and asynchronous elearning courses for participants in government, corporate and academic settings.

5. Designing Successful e-Learning, Michael Allen’s Online Learning Library: Forget What You Know About Instructional Design and Do Something Interesting

This being the second volume of 6 in Michael Allen’s extensive elearning library, I’ve chosen this one in particular for the beginner because it concentrates on behavioural outcomes through memorable and motivational learning experiences – something that is imperative for the L&D professional. Designing Successful e-Learning, Michael Allen’s Online Learning Library: Forget What You Know About Instructional Design and Do Something Interesting can be found on Amazon.

For Pros

6. The Functional Art: An Introduction To Information Graphics And Visualization

Albert Cairo’s The Functional Art: An Introduction To Information Graphics And Visualization is written with great aplomb and wisdom. Beginning with underlining the key concepts of designing effective information graphics and visualizations, he then delves into the cognitive processes that we all use to understand visuals. Imperative reading for anyone looking to take their courseware visuals to the next level.

7. Designing Information: Human Factors And Common Sense In Information Design

This is a great go-to reference book for information design. Joel Katz covers all issues of information transfer, including qualitative and quantitative issues, hierarchy and visual grammar. Designing Information: Human Factors And Common Sense In Information Design is available on Amazon.

8. Scenario-based E-Learning: Evidence-Based Guidelines For Online Workforce Learning

Using scenarios is a tried and tested method for helping learners retain information, and Ruth Colvin Clark’s Scenario-based E-Learning: Evidence-Based Guidelines For Online Workforce Learning looks at how scenario-based elearning is paving the way in the new world of online learning initiatives, primarily aimed at the workforce.

Got any more great elearning books that you think L&D professionals should be reading? Let us know in the comments below.