5 Best Employee Training Books

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Books are an excellent way of learning techniques involving training, and new ways of connecting with your employees. They can range in topics from practical business practices with case studies and research, to more subjective insights into human behavior. Gartner Analysts discuss some recent changes in business writing: “There seems to be a trend and it is a welcome one.  Shorter business books focus on the central ideas, provide a clearer argument and move more information into graphical tables and the like.  This is a good development as it makes more effective use of the reader’s time while still tackling complex issues like IT, Collaboration, Analytics and Growth.”

Here are 5 of the best employee training books that cover many different perspectives:

1. The Learning and Development Book, by Tricia Emerson and Mary Stewart, 2011

While most training books are written to be absorbed and thoroughly picked apart, this book by Emerson and Stewart was written for professionals with less time on their hands. The main intent is that this book will help pick you up when you are feeling like you are in a rut. It is meant to be read in easily digestible, bite-size portions. Each chapter contains a simple idea or “nugget of wisdom” that can help kick start some of your own ideas.

2. Telling Ain’t Training: Updated, Expanded, and Enhanced, by Harold D. Stolovitch and Erica J. Keeps, 2011

The main premise of this publication is to dispel counter-productive myths, traditions, and misguided principles about training that plague the workplace. It does so through informal, nonacademic ways and provides the research to back it up. It has an excellent pacing and follows a logical sense of direction through each section/chapter. There are several practical examples that you can follow along with, as well as endnotes with a wide array of additional reading and references.

3. Transferring Learning to Behavior: Using the Four Levels to Improve Performance, by Donald L Kirkpatrick and James D Kirkpatrick, 2005

In 1959, Donald Kirkpatrick changed the way we think about training course evaluation with his four-level model – reaction, learning, behavior, and results. This book explores the relationship between behavior and learning, and applies it using Kirkpatrick’s defining theory. There is a common problem in many workplaces today, which is learned concepts not applying in practice. This book offers several practical solutions.

4. Essentials of Online Course Design: A Standards-Based Guide, by Marjorie Vai and Kristen Sosulski, 2011

Online courses are often met with disdain, especially since they require not only a high standard of quality for the information presented, but also a high degree of competency in the design/interface. This book gives you a step-by-step approach to online course development, that are based off of fundamental core standards and best practices. There are several visual design principles and hands-on features inside.

5. The Adult Learner, Seventh Edition, by Malcolm S. Knowles Ph.D., Richard A. Swanson Ph.D. and Elwood F. Holton III Ed.D, 2011

Knowles was known as one of the leaders in changing how we think about adult education. He adopted principles that redefined educators from positions of ‘educating people’ to ‘helping them learn’. This book is an update to the classic Knowles publications, and goes through each core principle with a modern lens, especially regarding employee training. It also includes a section with other selected readings and references from other experts in the field. If you are looking for something shorter, check out WalkMe’s free training white paper “Closing the Gap From Training to Proficiency“. This paper will teach you various ways to improve your employees’ ability to apply their knowledge effectively. It also shows you how to use integrated online guidance tools to gauge the effectiveness of your training program.
Jason is the Lead Author & Editor of TrainingStation Blog. Jason established the Training Station blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to training, learning and development.