MRWED has been training trainers for over two decades and in this time we’ve done a lot of reading. Reading from other experts in the field allows us to expand our knowledge and ensures that our efforts pull from a diverse range of philosophies, education and methodologies. Here are some of the books that found themselves on our shelves lately.

1. How to Make Virtual Engagement Easy

How to Make Virtual Engagement Easy is a practical how-to guide that takes the heavy lifting off leaders and educators, providing dozens of ideas and strategies to make virtual engagement almost effortless and stress-free. It aims to transform mundane meetings into memorable moments and is designed to deliver personalised, in-the-moment learning to help leaders and educators to get most out of their live online interactions. 

Each chapter in the book is paired with a video tutorial and every chapter title represents a common question asked by a real leader or educator. For example: 

  • How to Run a Successful Virtual Meeting 
  • How Can Active Participation in Meetings Be Encouraged?
  • How to Make Virtual Team Meetings Fun
  • How to Be Interactive in a Virtual Presentation.

How to Make Virtual Engagement Easy unpacks the ‘5 Ingredients for Engagement’, a proven model for injecting life back into your remote gatherings. It also provides critical guidance for increasing the level of contribution and engagement with your group, with tips you can implement immediately.

This book delivers real-world advice, strategies, tactics, and exercises on how to fully engage your group, whether hybrid or remote. Best of all, nearly all the strategies in the book can be adapted to an in-person environment as well. 

2. What’s your formula

Creating engaging and effective training programs is a mixture of science and art. It requires the right balance of adult learning theory, available technology, intuitive tools, proven practices, creativity, and risk. How does a trainer find the right combination and proportion of these elements? How does a trainer know what’s possible?

To answer these questions, Brian Washburn offers a simple, yet elegant periodic table of learning elements modelled on the original periodic table of chemical properties. Washburn’s elements, which are organised into solids, liquids, gases, radioactive, and interactive categories, like to their chemical cousins, are metaphors for the tools and strategies of the field of learning design. Moreover, when they are combined, and under certain conditions, they have the potential to create amazing learning experiences for participants. 

From critical gas-like elements like the air we breathe, present in every training room (think instructional design or visual design), to radioactive elements, that are powerful and dangerous, yet commonly used (think PowerPoint), Washburn guides readers through the pitfalls and choices they confront in creating engaging learning experiences. A well-designed training program can be world-changing, he argues, and if trainers believe in their craft as a learning professional, they can do this too. Whether you are an experienced learning designer or new to the field, this book inspires with new ideas and ways to organise the learning program design. With stories from Washburn’s professional experience, this book includes a hands-on glossary of definitions and descriptions for more than 50 of his elements.

3. Know How

Whether they are subject matter experts, managers, coaches, or co-workers, everyone will need to transfer knowledge to others at some point in their life. Often that responsibility falls to an occasional trainer, someone with considerable knowledge and experience on how to perform a task, but little expertise to successfully transfer their know-how to others. What they need is a great resource to round out their repertoire of training skills.

Enter “Know-How”. This easy-to-read book lays out a simple-to-follow path to help the trainers and occasional trainers with whom you work improve their impact. Adding to the sustained influence of their previous books, such as “Telling Ain’t Training”, Harold D Stolovitch and Erica J Keeps have written a fun, effective guide on how to make your know-how stick to another’s brain.

The 12 chapters each focus on a single theme and are sequenced like stepping-stones to help you understand how to best transfer know-how to those who learn from you. Chapters include brief explanations, guidance, tools, activities, tangible and accessible examples of real-world applications, and a summary exercise to reinforce your retention of key points. Discover what you need now to quickly get people learning and up-to-speed. No fumbling, bumbling, rambling, or messing with people’s heads—this book delivers the know-how.

4. Learning Science

Learning science is a professional imperative for instructional designers. To create effective learning experiences that engage, we need to know how learning works and what enhances it as well as the factors that pose barriers. We also need to track the underlying research, so we are able to articulate how our designs reflect current understanding. 

Learning Science for Instructional Designers: From Cognition to Application distils the current scope of learning science into an easy-to-read primer. Good instructional design makes learning as simple as possible by removing distractions, minimising the cognitive load, and chunking necessary information into digestible parts. But our aim must go beyond enabling learners to recite facts, to empowering them to make better decisions—decisions about what to do, when, and how. This book prepares you to design learning experiences that ensure retention over time and transfer to the appropriate situations.

Key insights include:

  • providing spaced practice and reflection
  • tapping into motivation to build learner confidence
  • using performance-support tools, social learning, and humour appropriately to bring about learning aims.

Prompts at the end of each chapter will spark your thinking about how to use these concepts and more in your daily work.

Have you ever found yourself confidently delivering content for a virtual training session, webinar, or online meeting only to have a participant drop off? Or, have you bravely launched breakout sessions but found that participants got lost on where to go? These scenarios illustrate the convergence of virtual session facilitation and production. While attention is most often paid to the facilitation of virtual sessions, significantly less is devoted to producing them. Producing Virtual Training, Meetings, and Webinars rectifies this gap.

5. Producing Virtual Training, Meetings, and Webinars 

In this book, Kassy LaBorie, guides you through the production knowledge and skills a trainer needs to master the production of virtual events while delivering engaging training, productive meetings, and captivating webinars. Using examples from and discussing differences among common virtual conferencing platforms such as Adobe Connect, Blackboard, Zoom, Webex, GoTo Meeting, and Microsoft Teams, LaBorie offers a plan of action for conquering just about any platform and troubleshooting potential problems. This book thoroughly examines typical platform features (audio, webcam, chat, screen share), advanced interaction methods (polling, breakouts, Q&A), and administration and logistics elements (logins, session scheduling, reports).

With production in mind, you’ll also learn how to:

  • design session materials
  • prepare attendees to participate before and during the session
  • build successful virtual working relationships with presenters.

Through stories, templates, checklists, and examples, LaBorie shares about her 20-plus years of engaging participants successfully in thousands of virtual events and gets you up to speed in no time.

At MRWED we pride ourselves on staying engaged with the new material coming out from across the globe and feel we owe it to you our students to ensure we are staying engaged with new learnings and new ways of doing things. Come back soon for more resource reviews.  Or, subscribe to our newsletter below and stay up to date with all things training.

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