Review: Julie Dirksen’s Design For How People Learn


Julie Dirksen’s Design For How People Learn is a book I checked out from the library at the end of March.  I’ve been reading and re-reading it for two months because I love it so much.  It is an absolute must-read, must-own for anyone who presents for a living.  Superteachers, this is an essential guide to presentation that will change your approach to teaching forever.

Dirksen’s book begins by answering the big questions: where, who, what, and how.  She then moves into chapters called “Design For Knowledge,” “Design For Skills,” “Design For Motivation,” and “Design For Environment.”  Her writing style is simple and easy to understand, and she combines plain language with visuals to show as well as to tell.

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Instructional design is a fascinating subject, and a superteacher knows he or she must design classes based on how people learn.  We already know that lecture doesn’t work.  Why doesn’t lecture work?  What can a superteacher do in the classroom instead?  Dirksen answers these questions in her book.

Chip and Dan Heath’s Switch is an excellent companion to Dirksen’s ideas about the elephant and the rider.  The Heath brothers’ Made To Stick is also an essential guide to presenting material that sticks in the minds of audiences.

Learn more about Julie Dirksen by visiting her website, Usable Learning.  Follow her on Twitter at @usablelearning.


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