Learn Your Way to Success: How to Customize Your Professional Learning Plan to Accelerate Your Career (McGraw-Hill) by Daniel Tobin is a book that’s on my list of “I wish I knew this before”.

Learn Your Way to Success helps us become more conscious of our daily opportunities to learn and guides us on the best practices to take advantage of them. Daniel Tobin presents a number of tools and methods readers can use to set a personal learning agenda, keep track of what is learned, and determine how to use that learning to improve performance in their current job, prepare for their next job, and plan their careers.

Learning on the job takes time and anything that eases the process is highly beneficial to the employee and the employer.

Learning in itself is not as effective as when applied appropriately in your day to day work and life – that’s what makes all the difference. And for this simple reason this book offers some brilliant advice to the new hires and those who want to make learning on the job meaningful and successful.

Note to HR and/or those responsible for training new hires – This book must be on your list to add to the new hires package. If you agree with these 5 reasons then it’s good enough to convince you why:

  • You want your new hires to learn quickly and efficiently on the job.
  • You want your employees to excel at what they do.
  • You want to retain top-performers or talent since they’d only be happy in a growing and learning supported environment.
  • You want them to be good team players and know how to take advantage of learning opportunities of working in a team.
  • You want your employees to contribute positively to the organization and prove to be a good fit in the company culture.

For all this to happen you must offer them a strong initial platform to ease the ramp-up – and that’s why this book is an essential in your new-hires kit!

Make your e-Learning Experience a Success

What did you learn at work today?

Whether on a new job, career transition or simple career progression – constant learning is a must. It’s critical for your career advancement and being a pro at what you do. Daniel offers some practical advice for making e-learning successful. Some tips that you can use right away for

  • Prepare for a smooth learning experience– Know your course outline and objective. Check your computer operating system / laptop requirements etc. Check any other requirements for the e-learning program.
  • Focus to achieve the best results – e-learning is not something to be done on the go; you must focus your attention to one activity only – learning. All distractions must be avoided and you can get some simple but often disregarded tips that you can use during your next e-learning program.
  • Follow-up – involve your manager to plan on how you will be applying what you learn during such program and ask for help on other retargets or contacts which might be helpful during this learning process.
  • Follow-through – Set periodic meeting with you manager to report on your progress and to help you with any roadblocks that you may encounter as you apply what you have learned.


In short, in this book, you will learn:

  • How to work with your manager to identify your learning needs;
  • How to get maximum value from instructor-led training or e-learning programs;
  • How to take advantage of the myriad learning opportunities you have every day;
  • How to keep track of what you learn through a personal learning journal


How New Hires can Benefit from this Book

The first few days and months on a new job whether fresh out of college or when re-entering the workforce after a gap can be pretty daunting. Work challenges, manager expectations, performance evaluations and more is on your mind and perhaps not letting you unleash the productivity and creativity potential that you had initially planned to wow your colleagues with. There’s much to learn and if you get to know beforehand what to do when things don’t work out your way, you’ve just found the right retarget to expand your horizons and surpass your expectations.

This book offers some excellent tips for what most new hires need to know – you don’t know everything that’s to be done, you perhaps don’t know how it is expected to be done and you will probably make mistakes getting your tasks done. These all situations you might encounter during the first few days or months of your joining the new position, and here’s what you shouldn’t do:

  • Don’t be embarrassed
  • Don’t be afraid to admit an error you have made
  • Don’t fear that you will expose your ignorance

Here’s what you should do: Ask for help.

And these are just the few brilliant tips that you take back from this straightforward, full of examples learning-on-the-job guide book.

A prudent question is one-half of wisdom. ~ Francis Bacon

Good enough; you can get your copy at Amazon.


A very informative interview with the author Daniel Tobin:

Question: What are some robust and effective employee learning techniques that can help engage high performers and offer a meaningful learning experience?

Daniel: There are many learning techniques, both formal and informal, that can be used for employee learning as discussed in my book.  Three keys to making any of them a “meaningful learning experience” are:

  1. Set the expectation with the employee that what is learned will be used on the job and to set in place a plan for how the employee will use the new learning.
  2. Focus on the learning activity, whether it is in a classroom or e-learning or any other learning method.  Don’t try to multi-task learning with other activities.
  3. Provide reinforcement and follow-up after the learning activity is completed to help the employee succeed in applying the learning to the job.


Question: What’s the current trend in corporate America – are we seeing more of instructor-led or e-learning training programs? And what must employers consider when choosing one over the other?

Daniel: Over the past several decades, there has been a definite trend toward using more e-learning and less instructor-led, classroom-based training.  E-learning can be very effective in transmitting knowledge, while instructor-led training is generally more effective at building skills.  For example, there are a number of excellent e-learning programs on “Finance for Non-Financial Managers.”  But if you look at a skill such as presentation skills, e-learning may be helpful in teaching the basics of how to structure a presentation, how to make PowerPoint slides, etc., but if you really want to improve your presentation skills, you need to actually make presentations to an audience (class) and get critiques from the instructor and the other students.  It is also advisable to video-record your presentation so that you can critique yourself – and this cannot be done via e-learning.


Question: What are some tips that you share in your book that can make learning more applicable to present work and prepare for workplace changes in future?

Daniel: The first step in planning your learning activities is to meet with your manager to discuss what you do well and in what areas you need to improve or gain new knowledge and skills.  In the book, I provide a format for doing this.  Next, you need to prioritize your learning needs so that you focus on those competencies that will help you master your current job – if you haven’t mastered your current job, you are unlikely to be considered for promotion.  Third, you need to focus on the learning activities you have chosen, using the three steps outlined above.  Every employee has learning opportunities every day on the job – the trick is to recognize those opportunities and use them to improve your current job performance and to accelerate your career growth.


 About Daniel Tobin:

Daniel R. Tobin is a consultant and author on corporate learning strategies and leadership development programs. With more than 30 years of experience in the learning and development field, he has founded two corporate universities (Digital Equipment Corporation’s Network University and Wang Global/Getronics Virtual University), and served as vice president of design and development at the American Management Association (AMA). Throughout his career, he has always focused using learning and development to support his company’s business goals and strategies. Dan, a lifelong learner, gives workshops and keynotes regularly in the training and development fields, specifically at local chapters of ASTD.

For more information, please visit: http://www.whatdidyoulearnatworktoday.com.