The book sets out - as concisely as possible - a wealth of well-thought-out views, often corroborated by rigorous research.
These can be taken at face value and used as shortcuts to help readers in the planning, practice and politics of 'learning and development' (L&D) in their organisations. Or they can be used as seeds and short cuts to spark readers' thoughts and theories - so that they will be able to achieve more with less in a shorter time and all the other things that L&D professionals are supposed to do.
Commenting on the e-book, Donald H Taylor, Chairman, Learning and Skills Group, said: "Perspectives on Learning Technologies provides information on, and insight into, a huge range of factors involved in for using learning technologies, making this a valuable reference."
Vaughan Waller, an e-learning practitioner in the corporate world and a well-known writer and commentator on learning technologies, added: "Among the plethora of books on the subject of technology based learning, this e-book takes a different line to all the others. This vade mecum is an exhaustive collection of relatively short passages which cover every facet of learning, using technology."
"This e-book provides learning and development professionals with ready-to-use step-by-step instructions applicable to their everyday challenges," said Dr Ladislava Knihová, a prominent learning technologist, based in Prague in the Czech Republic. "From a personal point of view, I value the comprehensive sets of precisely formulated questions, which help me to deal with numerous methodological, technical and strategic issues in learning."
The Sydney, Australia-based e-learning professional and Advisory Board member of the USA's eLearn magazine, Ryan Tracey, commented: "The book covers key concepts, from instructional design and motivation to communities of practice and mobile learning, with a ship-load in between. Easy-to-read language explains major theories and models with an eye on practical application.
"Those new to the world of corporate learning will find this work indispensable in getting up to speed on the big issues, while those who have been in the industry for years will find the book a handy refresher -- no doubt learning something new along the way," he added.
The key premise underpinning the e-book is that times change; technologies change, and learning technologies change. On the other hand, people remain human.
According to the book's author, Bob Little, this means that those whose job involves identifying the need for; designing; developing; introducing, and popularising 'learning' within their organisations face the same issues that they've always faced - even if the advent of 'learning technologies' since the 1960s and continuing advances in technology now mean that there are more learning delivery mechanisms to choose from than there used to be.
He said: "Buy a book about learning technologies - especially 'e-learning' or 'online learning' - and it'll be out of date almost before you get to chapter two. That's because there's a real temptation for authors - and, to be fair, for readers- to concentrate on the 'technology' and the 'learning delivery' rather than the 'learning' itself.
"With the possible exception of the 'Systems' section, this book hopes to redress the balance somewhat - while still being about learning technologies as well as learning."
Every generation needs to learn the lessons that previous generations had to learn. That applies not only to the 'learners' but also to L&D professionals. This is especially true in terms of understanding the key issues relating to 'learning technologies'.
"From everyone's perspective, the pace of life may change; the technology we use will change, but the basic people-related issues remain the same because, essentially, human beings haven't changed," Bob added. "We all continue to have the same basic needs, as Maslow outlined, regardless of the age in which we live or the technology we employ to meet those needs.
"In particular, L&D professionals who're trying to meet their organisation's objectives by using various materials to develop the skills in these organisations' workforces, face the same challenges that L&D professionals have always faced. It's just that, these days, they have so many more options and (technology-based) tools in their armoury that these challenges can seem harder and the dangers of making a mistake appear to be greater than they used to be.
"Thankfully, this book contains some insights into these challenges."