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Upskill, Reskill, Thrive: Optimizing Learning and Development in the Workplace


James McKenna



Upskill, Reskill, Thrive book cover

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(ISBN: 9781930583962)

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(ISBN: 9781930583979)

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Free Webinar with James McKenna

Join author James McKenna for an engaging discussion about his new book: Upskill, Reskill, Thrive: Optimizing Learning and Development in the Workplace. In this webinar recording, you’ll learn how Universal Design for Learning can be applied across industries to optimize productive, meaningful work.

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About the Book

Upskill, Reskill, Thrive: Optimizing Learning and Development in the Workplace offers readers an accessible guide to understanding and applying Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to the workplace. Using exemplars from across sectors and industries, James McKenna highlights how learning and development professionals can redefine the goals of learning in the corporate environment - not only for the benefit of the organization but also, and perhaps more importantly, for the individual.

Upskill, Reskill, Thrive illustrates how to create and sustain learning and work environments that honor and empower individuals in ways that promote knowledge generation and sharing. This book will help L&D educators and corporate leaders motivate their teams from the inside to improve performance and become part of an inclusive culture across an organization.

Upskill, Reskill, Thrive is available in print (198 pages, ISBN: 9781930583962) and accessible EPUB (ISBN: 9781930583979) wherever books are sold!

Table of Contents

Praise for Upskill, Reskill, Thrive

McKenna offers a compelling guidebook for utilizing Universal Design for Learning (UDL) to create 'expert learners' in your organization—learners who assess their own capabilities, tailor their own learning opportunities, and fulfill an organizational impact that so often evades traditional training. This isn't about accommodation, but rather enablement. Using UDL to understand and leverage variability across learners—in language, learning differences, disabilities, backgrounds and experience—McKenna outlines the considerable learning science underpinning the framework, and culminates with a detailed guide for applying UDL Guidelines. This is a great entry point to UDL for anybody involved in corporate learning and training.

Denis Saulnier, Director of Digital Learning, Ariel Group


McKenna's easy-to-follow UDL progression of learners, the environment, neuroscience, emotion, intellect, and strategy will help you to create just-in-time and point-of-need learning, at scale, for the wide variety of learners in your workplace. He relies on his own career in industry, education, and military service, as well as conversations with leaders across the workforce in North America to deliver practical, evidence-based strategies for lowering workplace-learning barriers and making your learning & development efforts smoother, easier to facilitate, and more effective. I strongly recommend this book to every L&D leader.

Thomas J. Tobin, University of Wisconsin-Madison, author of Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone, UDL in Higher Education


About the Author

Headshot of author James McKenna

James McKenna loves to learn and help others learn and improve. He supports organizations to develop, sustain, and leverage inclusive learning and working ecosystems so that individuals and teams can learn, innovate, and thrive. He is a leader, instructional designer, trainer, and facilitator. James serves as the assistant director of Professional Learning and Leadership Development at the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence and is the founder of McKenna Learning, a learning and development consultancy. He is a regular speaker at national conferences and leads the development of digital resources to support inclusive learning at scale. Previously, James was a consultant, administrator, and special education teacher for the Los Angeles County Office of Education, a musician, a nightclub doorman, and veteran of the United States Navy. In short, he's worn a lot of hats.

He received a BA in music from the University of Massachusetts - Boston, an MA in education from the University of Phoenix, and an EdD in education leadership with a focus on education psychology from the University of Southern California. He is also certified as a master instructional designer by the Association for Talent Development (ATD). A native of Revere, Massachusetts, James currently lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife, Janine, and his children, Juliet and Jack.

Follow him on Twitter at @JamesMcKenna

Table of Contents

  • Foreword: Making the UDL Journey by Kendra Grant
  • Introduction: A New Approach to Learning and Development
  • Chapter 1: Learning in the Modern World
  • Chapter 2: Know Your Learners
  • Chapter 3: Know Your Environment
  • Chapter 4: Align Your Mind
  • Chapter 5: Make an Emotional Connection
  • Chapter 6: Make an Intellectual Connection
  • Chapter 7: Make a Strategic Connection
  • Chapter 8: Put Your Learning to Work
  • Appendix A - Using the UDL Guidelines in the Workplace 

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