Monday, January 9, 2012

Reading Reflections: Design for How People Learn by Julie Dirksen

I just finished reading Julie Dirksens new book, Design for How People Learn. The core audience of this book, at least in my mind, would be the Instructional Designer. 

I think the book has value well beyond that core audience based on one of the things that make it unique.  Design for How People Learn discusses not only design for learning, but also design for memory and design for attention.   If you ever have the need to create materials from which users will gain, retain and use information and skills, this is a book that can help you be successful.

What I liked most about this book was the style in which it is written.  The book stands upon a great deal of research, yet it never feels as though you are reading a stale report or case study.  The tone of the book is extremely conversational, as if you were sitting at a table sharing coffee while the author shares with you tips she has learned in her practice.

And the tips shared are extremely valuable.  The book explores the importance of getting to know who your learners are, what learning goals really are, and how humans remember and recall information.  It then builds on that knowledge to separately address and share tips on how to design learning to gain attention, to gain knowledge, to develop skills, to motivate, and to address gaps in the learners environment.

I think this book is an excellent resource and should be added to the reading lists of  both new and experienced Instructional Designers.

For other posts in which people share their thoughts on this book, check out:
Design for How People Learn by Julie Dirksen @usablelearning (post by Cammy Bean from Learning Visions)


  1. Sounds like a good book. Do you know if/where I can buy an electronic version that I can read from my tablet?

  2. It's a great book from New Riders. Try it on Safari Books Online, email me at for a trial.

  3. Looks like the Kindle edition is available on Amazon:

    It's in my "wish" list til I clear the to-read pile on my bedside table and in Instapaper!

  4. Hi Kelly-

    I read this book via the Kindle. I really enjoy reading that version as it allows me to tweet points that I think have value, further sharing the message of the book.

    As an added bonus, the 6-7 books I have loaded and waiting to to be read is a lot less intimidating than the old pile of books on the nightstand.

  5. Thanks for the review, Dave! So glad you found it valuable.

  6. Thoughtful review for a very worthwhile book, Dave! And I'm going to continue the link love... Yesterday Garr Reynolds gave it a shout out among "10 great books to help you think, create, & communicate better in 2012"!