Journal of Military Learning

Recommended Reading

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Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning

By P. C. Brown, H. L. Roediger, and M. A. McDaniel

(Recommended by Sherry Hernandez, United States Air Force Air Education Training Command, A3T)

This book can completely change a reader’s perspective about how to study and learn. The authors look at some of the more popular teaching and learning methods (rereading, highlighting, learning preferences, assessments, etc.) and bumps them up against some of the newest and insightful cognitive science data to show that much of what we think about learning is actually wrong. This book has the perfect mix of empirical and anecdotal evidence that will appeal to students, teachers, developers, trainers, and supervisors.

Small Teaching: Everyday Lessons from the Science of Learning

By James Lang

(Recommended by Col. Steven Delvaux, Vice Provost Academic Affairs, Army University)

This is an excellent book that provides a good overview of the results of some of the latest learning science studies and then provides practical tips on how to integrate that knowledge on how people learn into the classroom. A must-read for teachers, instructors, and trainers throughout the military’s learning enterprise who are looking for very doable ways to enhance their teaching and improve their students’ learning outcomes.

What the Best College Teachers Do

By Ken Bain

(Recommended by Dr. John Persyn, Faculty and Staff Development Division, Army University)

Based on years of research spanning a broad range of campuses, this book provides an insightful look at what characterizes excellence as an educator. The book causes a teacher to think deeply about the knowledge and behaviors that teachers should understand in order to be most effective in the classroom. It is presented in a direct and often humorous style that is an enjoyable and inspiring read for anyone teaching adults—not just those in higher education.

Learner-Centered Teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice

By Maryellen Weimer

(Recommended by Dr. John Persyn, Faculty and Staff Development Division, Army University)

This is an excellent reference that highlights the value of learner-centered teaching to promote deeper learning for students. The author describes how to enhance learning by encouraging learners to take greater ownership of their learning. Included is an overview of the theoretical basis for learner-centered teaching and a description of an approach to implement learner-centered policies and practices to improve the learning organization. Also included are techniques and handouts that can be used to implement these practices in the classroom.

Inspired College Teaching: A Career-Long Resource for Professional Growth

By Maryellen Weimer

(Recommended by Dr. John Persyn, Faculty and Staff Development Division, Army University)

In this book, Weimer emphasizes the importance of continued development throughout the educator’s career. She highlights the individual responsibility of the educator to ensure that teaching does not become stagnant, lacking the enthusiasm and passion necessary to inspire students. She describes specific perspectives and considerations for the three phases of an educator’s career: beliefs that prevent and promote growth for new faculty, maintaining instructional vitality through the midcareer challenge, and continuing the journey as senior faculty. This is an important read for any professional educator.

10 Steps to Successful Facilitation

By The American Society for Training and Development

(Recommended by Dr. John Persyn, Faculty and Staff Development Division, Army University)

This book is a useful resource for professionals in education and business whose success depends on effective group facilitation. It provides a variety of tools and techniques to help the facilitator remain neutral while establishing a collaborative climate that promotes active and productive engagement by participants. Also included are tools to help prepare for facilitating sessions and recommendations for evaluating and improving results.

Group Dynamics and Team Interventions: Understanding and Improving Team Performance

By Timothy Franz

(Recommended by Dr. John Persyn, Faculty and Staff Development Division, Army University)

This book is an invaluable tool in the classroom, on the playing field, or in the workplace. It is useful for both academics and practitioners since it helps provide a better understanding of the dynamics that inform team behavior and improve team functioning. Academics can use this book to help teach team concepts in their courses, and practitioners can use it as a guide for assessing teams within their organizations. In either case, this book offers application and intervention techniques that will help to optimize group and team functioning.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

By Daniel Kahneman

(Recommended by John J. Edwards, Faculty and Staff Development Division, Army University)

A Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences winner explains two systems that drive the way we think. He further examines the impact of cognitive biases regarding thinking fast and emotional versus slow and more logical. This book is essential reading to know how the two systems can shape our judgments and decisions both inside and outside the workspace.

Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-class Performers

By Tim Ferriss

(Recommended by Pamela Hicks, Education Program Specialist, Naval Justice School)

In order to think adaptively, it is important for us to be curious and learn the ways of thinking that have led to success in many walks of life. Tim Ferriss has neatly packaged literally thousands of thought provoking ideas from over one hundred successful “Titans.” More than anything, this book compels us to think, “What are the curious questions we should ask of others and ourselves?”

How to Measure Anything: Finding the Value of Intangibles in Business

By D. W. Hubbard

(Recommended by Dr. Sae Schatz, Director of DOD Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative)

This easy-to-read book explains the purpose and value of measurement in practical terms, and it highlights the many (often low-cost) ways to measure or forecast seemingly “immeasurable” concepts such as organizational flexibility, technology risk, and return on investment. An excellent book for anyone skeptical (or working with those skeptical) of the utility or viability of evaluating phenomena such as human performance, decision-making skill, or other complex learning outcomes.

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

By Angela Duckworth

(Recommended by Dr. Kendy Vierling, Director of the Future Learning Group, United States Marine Corps Training and Education Command)

This entertaining yet scientifically substantive book examines key factors that influence human performance and resilience, specifically concentrating on the factor of focused perseverance described as “grit.” Dr. Duckworth examines neuroscience, educational psychology, sport psychology, and social psychology research to explain not only the key factors that contribute to grit and why grit is important for peak performance, but also how to cultivate grit in students of all ages and backgrounds. Through a variety of examples, she explains how the organization’s social environment, culture, and the type of feedback provided to student all influence grit. She includes humorous personal anecdotes and insightful interviews with individuals who have cultivated grit in themselves and others, such as National Football League Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young and his father. This book is a “must read” for anyone who would like to better understand a key factor that impacts human motivation, behavior, and peak performance.



“Building a F.A.S.T. Force: A Flexible Personnel System for a Modern Military, Recommendations from the Task Force on Defense Personnel,” Bipartisan Policy Center website, March 2017, (Recommended by Lt. Col. Kasey Stramblad, IT Service Provider A6/A5T, Air Education Training Command)

This article shares a theme with the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Force of the Future. It bangs the drum that the military’s talent management system and processes need to improve, including how we train and educate our force.


“Corporate E-Learning,” Asia Pacific Journal of Management & Entrepreneurship Research 4, no. 1 (January 2015), by R. Suhasini and T. Suganthalakshmi (Recommended by Sherry Hernandez, United States Air Force Air Education Training Command, A3T).

The authors address e-learning in a corporate environment, arguing for the necessity of e-learning within corporations based on several factors that are common to the military community as well. They make several important points:

  • Technological changes have increased the complexity and velocity of the work environment.
  • The lack of skilled labor is driving need for learning within organizations.
  • Fierce competition in most industries is leading to increasing cost pressures.
  • The globalization of business is resulting in manifold challenges.
  • Social and demographic changes are directing education toward older target groups.
  • Knowledgeable workers require greater flexibility in the workplace.
  • Learning has become a continual process rather than a distinct event.

April 2017