Skillsoft Blog

Books24x7 Book Review: Unwrap the Future of Learning

By Julie Ogilvie

Nick Van Dam has long been one of the most forward-thinking and enthusiastic proponents of technology-enabled learning. As the CLO for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, he’s had the opportunity to see hundreds if not thousands of corporate learning programs in action, and he’s worked directly with corporate executives to understand exactly what it is they are looking for.

This vast knowledge of what works comes together with his passion for learning in a fact-filled compendium called Next Learning Unwrapped:  Leading Learning Practices and 37 Case Studies.  As the name suggests, it starts with an analysis of what makes learning effective in a business context, and from there the majority of the book’s 370+ pages are filled with case studies illustrating how a wide variety of organizations are solving today’s most pressing learning problems.

This book is a fantastic resource for learning professionals at all stages in their careers and it’s the kind of thing that would be great to have on the shelf in your office just to pull down and flip through when you’re stuck for an idea or wondering what to do next.  Simply peruse the table of contents and you’re bound to find an area that you want to know more about: social learning, performance support, wikis and blogs, gaming and simulations are just a few of the topics.

As the list suggests, leading edge learning approaches are the primary focus, and this is not by accident.  Van Dam’s view is that 90 percent of workplace learning is informal, and one of the useful parts of the book is his Next Learning framework that explains how various forms of social and informal learning can be woven together to support corporate objectives.  There’s also an introduction from Elliot Masie to kick things off.

But the real value for most people will be the detailed case studies that describe exactly what the program was, how it was designed, the key business drivers, the outcomes and the lessons learned.  How many times have you wanted to be able to pick up the phone and call someone at another company and ask “how did you do it?”  With Next Learning Unwrapped, you have the next best thing.

All proceeds from the book are being donated to the e-Learning for Kids Foundation, a global non-profit that Van Dam created in 2004 to help provide free online learning for kids anywhere in the world.  This is putting the Internet to work in a truly wonderful way that everyone in the learning industry can take pride in – so be sure to visit and support this great work!

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