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Design for How People Learn
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Design for How People Learn

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  1,141 ratings  ·  122 reviews
Products, technologies, and workplaces change so quickly today that everyone is continually learning. Many of us are also teaching, even when it's not in our job descriptions. Whether it's giving a presentation, writing documentation, or creating a website or blog, we need and want to share our knowledge with other people. But if you've ever fallen asleep over a boring tex ...more
Paperback, 259 pages
Published November 17th 2011 by New Riders Publishing (first published November 3rd 2011)
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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 ·  1,141 ratings  ·  122 reviews

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Araminta Matthews
Jun 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: all my teachery friends
Julie Dirksen is an instructional designer in primarily a corporate setting, but the elements of instructional design laid out in this book are relevant to academia as well. While she has limited understanding of learning theory and the neuroscience of knowledge, her practical-real-world applications coupled with her "show-don't-tell" educational model is theoretically (and practically) sound. I was very impressed with this book. In fact, I read it in under 24 hours. It is now relegated to the " ...more
Eric Brooke
Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art, training
A well designed book and content. Focuses on Adult learning. Really helpful for people creating training materials, software applications, UX, and design
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Learned a lot and had fun along

After reading a few other books about learning, I discovered this one. It took me longer as each chapter was to be studied, understood and absorbed. I just finished, but will read it again.

I read on kindle, but will buy also a hard copy. Each with its advantages. Now, I really understand how much goes into creating a good learning experience for adults. A book I recommend to many who teach, train, create any material.
Beth Glicker
Dec 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've been on a binge of books about presentations/teaching to adults/visual teaching etc... They are all a little different, so I'm not sure how I would lump them all together as a category. But I'm going to say that this book was by far the most helpful to me. It was also the least literal. If you are looking for specific examples of how to teach, you might be disappointed. But it's a great book to help you visualize how people learn. I'd also recommend "Made To Stick" by the Heath brothers if ...more
Mar 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book was absolutely brilliant. The information was relevant completely relevant for my job as a Change Manager and I could see numerous ways to apply the learnings from this book in day-to-day learning experiences.

I loved the layout of the book, the tone and the illustrations. It was easy to read while also being really useful.

Highly recommended.
J. Bradley
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’ve worked in instructional design for eight years and this is one of the best books on the subject that I’ve read. The book is intended for entry level, but vets should read this too as a refresher and to find new ideas. If you teach in any environment, read this book.
Robyn Hammontree
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well-presented, tangible advice for how to design with the learner in mind.
Michael Bodekaer
Jun 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: education
Good book in general, however I was missing a lot more scientific evidence of the points and recommendations made in the book.
As a book inspiring new ways and ideas on how to educate, it was a good resource though.
Jodi Jeannette
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is so informative and insightful. As a teacher, the content was relevant and presented in a really engaging way. I'd recommend this to anyone who wants to improve their instructional design practice!
Jan 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a great intro / broad exploration of learning design! It definitely gave me ideas to consider for designing online courses.
Tara Entringer
Dec 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this for a book club at work; it was highly effective at generating meaningful conversations amongst my coworkers and helped us to recognize a shared definition of what constitutes quality work in our field. It's geared towards instructional design in a corporate environment, but the content would be applicable to anyone involved in learning & development and/or adult learning.
Very little information was presented that I haven't already heard, but it was organized in a way that will make
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, design
This is not a book designed for academic teaching / learning / assessment. However, you will be able to get a lot of good ideas about instructional design nonetheless. The illustrations were a bit overkill, in my opinion, but that's not a big deal.

On the other hand, I was clearly not the audience for this book. It was more designers of the corporate-style e-learning / training (of relatively short duration). Having gone through some of those, they tend to be pretty terrible.

There were some inter
Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holy bananas, is this book useful or WHAT?! I've already implemented a couple things I picked up from it into my corporate curriculum.

Easy to read with plenty of useful visuals, this makes designing a good training material seem like the easiest thing in the world. It's not, but with all the useful information found within, you'll find it much easier than you did before reading this book.

Highly recommended, especially for instructional designers and trainers.
Roberta Dombrowski
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great primer on learning theory and instructional design for anyone who may be new to the industry or simply just designing products and experiences. Julies way of writing is simple - she has a way of making complicated theories seem approachable to all. Highly recommend!
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book, easy to read with a bit of lite humor.
Dec 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book said a lot of what I already knew, but Julie presents the material in such an accessible and memorable way that I recommend this book even for a moderately experienced Instructional Designer. Her writing style is easy-to-read and accessible, and her use of intermittent humor definitely helped to keep the reading enjoyable. I found new information and approaches that I could take away and apply to future projects and new ways of thinking about what I already felt I understood about ID a ...more
Bryan Tanner
PHENOMENAL! One of the most practical resources on learning I have ever read. Any curious mind will find this information accessible. No academic jargon. Plenty of fun illustrations. Just real talk from a seasoned professional.

I especially appreciated how the author, Julie Dirksen, offers practical activity advice for motivating different types of learning—knowledge, skills, motivation, and habit development.

Fast read. I read the entire book in the time it takes to watch a 5-set tennis match. Bu
Jun 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: teaching
I don't have much to say about this book. There were a few good points, and it is helpful to read a teaching book geared for an adult audience. At times I felt that it wasn't as clear it could be considering the book is about clearly communicating to teach. It also had some pretty lackluster graphics throughout the book. It did bring some interesting points to the surface as I re-work a teaching plan I'm in the middle of though, and I can see myself coming back to reference a few times as I fidd ...more
Sep 21, 2012 rated it liked it

Interesting read, even if you are not an instructional designer. The benefit of Dirksen's experience is that she knows how to effectively structure her art and content to communicate points in a way that connects with the reader. For the publisher, though, there were a lot of mistakes...

I recommend it if you like design of any kind, and if you like tidbits about how people think. But especially if you are a teacher or instructional designer. It will give you some new ways of thinking and ways t
Aug 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Concise and practical summary of a lot of the research out there into how people learn and thus how to teach. Doesn't get taken in by hokey stuff like catering to different learning styles. While the content overlaps with other books I've read such as Make It Stick, I think as a practical guide for teachers it's the best book out there that I've come across.
May 04, 2012 rated it liked it
If I taught on a regular basis, I'd probably want to read this in more detail.

Instead, I was just a little thrown because I took the word "design" to mean "graphic design." Instead, it more meant how to design your class/teaching style to help people learn...
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
This appears to be geared towards learning/teaching in corporations but the concepts are broad enough to be generalizable and relevant in many teaching situations.

e.g. identifying and addressing knowledge and skill gaps, types of motivation
Jan 04, 2014 rated it liked it
A beginner's guide - basic implications from cognitive psychology and psychology of learning. Not a lot of new stuff for me, but non-psychologist can benefit much from it, as Mrs. Dirksen followed her own rules.
Leonard Houx
Oct 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
A great mix of literature review and practical experience. I recommend this book to anyone interested in instructional design.
Alaeddin Hallak
Very easy to follow and filled with practical insight to design an outstanding learning for your students.
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The goal of good learning design is for learners to emerge from the learning experience with new or improved capabilities that they can take back to the real world.”

I really liked this book and would thoroughly suggest it to the beginner learning designer (or instructional designer). The book itself is well designed, illustrated with useful pictures, and full of clarifying examples. Dirksen provides a thorough introduction into designing for learning, but also breaks down the different types o
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who ever learns or helps anyone else learn
This is a really easy and fun read with a lot of excellent strategies. Each point is emphasized by extensive examples and entertaining drawings, which helps the information stick and... also kept me reading in the first place.
I think the biggest flaw this book has is how easy it is. As Dirksen explains, learning typically requires some degree of friction in order to stick, and this book is so fun and engaging that I breezed through it. I think a supplemental workbook or workbook style problems i
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a reasonably short and accessible introduction to the subject of design of learning initiatives useful most directly for anyone who has to think about training elements within a project. Perhaps more broadly it covers elements of how people acquire and retain knowledge and then how that knowledge is applied in real life situations.

Among the many interesting perspectives are the idea that the 'recognition' of facts in a multiple choice test is much easier than 'recollection' required with
Morgan A
Feb 25, 2020 rated it liked it
I've seen this book recommended for people interested in getting into instructional design and it had a high rating so it seemed like a safe place to start. Unfortunately I learned very little from it. Everything Dirksen says has been said better elsewhere and I think reading those sources is more worthwhile. The biggest thing I got out of this book were the works she referenced so I can look into them.

For me, this was a 2 star read. However, I've already done some reading in the education fiel
Irene Gracesiana
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Enjoying this book so much. This book full with useful information and for me such great learning resources (as a Trainer/Training Designer/Teacher/and also as a Parent). I'm learning so much to consider the critical elements providing great learning journey / experiences.

With good illustration or examples, the concept easily understood. No wonder as the author is instructional designer for 15 years.

Designing learning journey or experience from perspective of skills, knowledge, motivation and
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“I’ve heard the argument that learners don’t know what they don’t know, and that they need guidance and directions. This can be a justification for less autonomy in an environment, but there are always ways to give options to even the most novice learners. Some ways you can give learners autonomy: • Let them help determine what’s learned. • Let them choose where to start, or what order to approach the material. • Have them make decisions about what assignments or projects they do. • Have them bring their own questions, projects, or problems to the table, and focus the learning experience around addressing or solving those challenges. If you genuinely can’t give learners any autonomy, then stay away from any kind of rewards as a way to drive attention.” 1 likes
“I wince now to think of when I was a new teacher, and said things like "This is really important stuff" or "You'll be really glad you know this stuff later on.” 1 likes
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