The 2020 List: My Favorite Book about Teaching and Learning is . . . 48 Books to Inspire You!

favorite books about teaching and learning in higher education

Here's the list of 48 favorite books about teaching and learning for 2020.


For the second year in a row, I posted this fill-in-the-blank question to my email list and all of my social media pages:

My favorite book about teaching and learning is ______________.

And yet again, my network delivered! Professors, instructors, teachers, educators, trainers, instructional designers, and faculty development professionals posted their favorite books about teaching and learning.

This year’s list includes a few repeats from last year, but there are also some newcomers which I think you’ll enjoy.

I’ve compiled the list and here are the 48 recommended by colleagues throughout my network (Note: Many books were recommended more than once).

Here’s the 2020 List of Favorite Books about Teaching and Learning!

Some of these authors have been guests on the Lecture Breakers podcast, so be sure to check out their episodes (look for the podcast links below). Listen on or on your favorite podcast platform!

The books are listed in alphabetical order by the author’s last name:

Powerful Teaching: Unleash the Science of Learning by Pooja K. Agarwal and Patrice M. Bain

How Learning Works: Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching by Ambrose, DiPietro, Bridges, Norman & Lovett

Educating for a Change by Arnold, Burke, James, Martin, & Thomas

What the Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain

The Ten-Minute Trainer: 150 Ways to Teach it Quick and Make it Stick! by Sharon L. Bowman

The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom by Stephen Brookfield

Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter Brown

Collaborative Learning: Higher Education, Interdependence, and the Authority of Knowledge by Kenneth Bruffee

How We Learn by Benedict Carey

Engaging the Online Learner: Activities and Resources for Creative Instruction by Rita-Marie Conrad and J. Ana Donaldson

99 Tips for Creating Simple and Sustainable Educational Videos: A Guide for Online Teachers and Flipped Classes by Karen Costa (Lecture Breakers podcast episode #23)

Small Teaching Online: Applying Learning Science in Online Classes by Flower Darby and James M. Lang

Facilitating Seven Ways of Learning: A Resource for More Purposeful, Effective, and Enjoyable College Teaching by James Davis and Bridget Arend

How We Learn: Why Brains Learn Better Than Any Machine . . . for Now by Stanislas Dehaene

What If Everything You Knew About Education Was Wrong? by David Didau

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck

Teaching College: The Ultimate Guide to Lecturing, Presenting, and Engaging Students by Norman Eng (Lecture Breakers podcast episode #15)

Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire by Raff Esquath

How Humans Learn: The Science and Stories behind Effective College Teaching by Josh Eyler (Lecture Breakers podcast episode #13)

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber

Learning in Real Time: Synchronous Teaching and Learning Online by Jonathan E. Finkelstein

Radical Hope: A Teaching Manifesto by Kevin M. Gannon

Teacher Effectiveness Training: The Program Proven to Help Teachers Bring Out the Best in Students of All Ages by Thomas Gordon and Noel Burch

Culturally Responsive Teaching and the Brain by Zaretta Hammond

Creating Wicked Students by Paul Hanstedt

Dynamic Lecturing: Research-Based Strategies to Enhance Lecture Effectiveness by Christine Harrington and Todd Zakrajsek

The Long Haul: an Autobiography by Myles Horton

Teaching to Transgress
by bell hooks

Exploring the Digital Library: A Guide for Online Teaching and Learning by Kay Johnson and Elaine Magusin

Teaching Adults: An Active Learning Approach by Elizabeth Jones

Retrieval Practice: Resources and Research for Every Classroom by Kate Jones

Small Teaching by James Lang

Geeky Pedagogy: A Guide for Intellectuals, Introverts, and Nerds Who Want to Be Effective Teachers by Jessamyn Neuhaus (Lecture Breakers podcast episode #5)

Teaching at Its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors by Linda Nilson

A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even If You Flunked Algebra) by Barbara Oakley

Mindshift: Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential by Barbara Oakley

Best Practices for Teaching with Emerging Technologies by Michelle Pacansky-Brock

The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer

Collaborating Online: Learning Together in Community by Rena Palloff and Keith Pratt

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything by Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica

Grasp: The Science Transforming How We Learn by Sanjay Sarma and Luke Yoquinto

Conquering the Content: A Blueprint for Online Course Design and Development by Robin M. Smith

Taking Learning to Task by Jane Vella

Why They Can't Write by John Warner

Why Don't Students Like School by Dan Wellingham

Using Wikis for Online Collaboration: The Power of the Read-Write Web by James A. West and Margaret L. West

Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe


Thank you for sharing your favorite books! Now I need to go update my wish list!

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