My list of Best Books of 2006 for the Workplace Learning-and-Performance Field are as follows:

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Wick, Pollock, Jefferson, and Flanagan (2006). The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning: How to Turn Training and Development Into Business Results.

This book is nothing short of revolutionary, providing a comprehensive analysis of how to create learning interventions that have performance impact. I previously reviewed this book and awarded the lead author the 2006 Neon Elephant Award.

Pfeffer and Sutton (2006). Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths And Total Nonsense: Profiting From Evidence-Based Management.

This book provides an evidence-based critique of many of today’s most common management fads. The information in the book is critical to learning-and-performance professionals responsible for leadership and management development efforts (BECAUSE CONTENT MATTERS), but also as a shining example for our field (BECAUSE IF WE’RE NOT USING EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICES, WE’RE NOT GETTING OPTIMAL RESULTS).


Clark, Nguyen, AND Sweller (2005). Efficiency in Learning: Evidence-Based Guidelines to Manage Cognitive Load

Another in Ruth Clark’s excellent series of research-to-practice books where she partners with leading learning researchers. Here she joins with Frank Nguyen and partners with John Sweller, developer of cognitive load theory. The book tells us how to create learning interactions that avoid overloading our learners’ limited working memory and perceptual-channel capacities.

Rossett and Schafer (2006). Job Aids and Performance Support: Moving From Knowledge in the Classroom to Knowledge Everywhere

Allison Rossett and Lisa Schafer have created a great book on performance-support systems. With an introduction from Gloria Gery, this book nicely outlines the power and potential of performance support to replace and/or augment traditional training interventions. The book is written using a sensible, research-based approach. It describes when performance support is valuable, and when it’s not.

Israelite (2006). Lies About Learning: Leading Executives Separate Truth from Fiction In a $100 Billion Industry

Larry Israelite edits this book as the various authors take on many of the most important myths in our field. This kind of book is critical in our typically lost-in-denial field.

Allen (2006). Michael Allen’s E-Learning Library: Creating Successful E-Learning: A Rapid System For Getting It Right First Time, Every Time

Michael Allen knows instructional design from the ground floor up. For four decades he’s led the field. Now he shares his hard-earned knowledge with the rest of us. This book provides a model for real-world instructional designers to create effective e-learning. This is the first in Michael Allen’s ongoing Pfeiffer e-learning series.

You can purchase these books directly at the Will’s Blog Amazon.com Store