4 Replies
Katie Wilson

I found Michael Allen's book Designing Successful e-Learning extremely helpful (hat tip to Emily Wood at Oregon Child Development Coalition for the recommendation!). He gives a great overview of various learning theories before diving into practical applications.

I also liked The Accidental Instructional Designer and have heard great things about Design for How People Learn by Julie Dirksen, though it's still on my reading list :)

Ray Cole

I second Katie's recommendation of Designing Successful E-learning by Michael Allen. Michael Allen's Guide to E-Learning is also great.

Allen's books cover the big-picture of effective instructional design. They address questions like: How do I know if the objectives of my course have been met? Does my course provide practice opportunities for learners, or does it just data dump to them? and so on. A book that pairs really well with them is Ruth Clark's E-learning and the Science of Instruction, which focuses more tactically on the small details of creating effective e-learning. Clark's book answers questions like: How formal should my language be? What's the best way to label my graphics? What's the best way to combine (or not) audio, text, and images?

For classroom-based instruction, I like Doug Lemov's Teach Like a Champion 2.0. While Clark's book is rigorously focused on evidence-based practice (that is, basing instructional design decisions on the results of formal research published in peer-reviewed scientific journals), Lemov's book focuses instead on practice-based evidence. He noticed that certain schools in poor neighborhoods had uncharacteristically great results on student test scores and wondered what it was about those schools that allowed them to so outperform expectations. He suspected their success was due to great teaching, and so he set out to find out what it was that "champion" teachers do. The result is an amazing taxonomy of 60+ proven techniques that can form the basis of both best practices for live instructors, and a set of named building blocks for instructional designers who need to design live training sessions.

Another very good book that looks at training as part of a larger set of factors that influence behavior is The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning, by Roy Pollok, Andrew Jefferson, and Calhoun Wick.

Hope this helps.

    -Ray