Modern Training

5 reasons why The Modern Learning Ecosystem is an L&D must-read

Posted on: November 18, 2022Updated on: April 22, 2024By: JD Dillon, Chief Learning Architect

Do you believe workplace learning should be more than online courses and Zoom sessions? Do you struggle to gain stakeholder buy-in for new ideas? Do you feel like you’re always one step behind the latest organizational change? 

Then The Modern Learning Ecosystem: A New L&D Mindset for the Ever-Changing Workplace from Axonify’s Chief Learning Architect, JD Dillon, is the book for you.

Cover of the book, The Modern Learning Ecosystem: A New L&D Mindset for the Ever-Changing Workplace, by JD Dillon

It’s both a personal and practical take on the role L&D must play in building disruption-ready organizations and we got our hands on an advance copy—before the book officially drops on November 29—and wanted to share some of the exciting takeaways within its pages.

Here are five reasons why The Modern Learning Ecosystem should be at the top of your learning and development reading list.

5. It’s based on proven concepts

Many business books are compilations of case studies. The authors didn’t do all of the work themselves but rather stitched together stories from those who faced familiar challenges and found new ways to overcome them. The Modern Learning Ecosystem is different. 

This story is based on JD’s 20+ years in operations and talent development with companies like Disney and Kaplan as well as his work at Axonify. The book follows him as he discovers how to deal with some of the most pressing challenges in workplace learning and performance—from time limits and budget constraints to compliance requirements and stakeholder demands. 

This book can practically help you elevate your own practices because the writer has been in your shoes.

4. So many Disney stories

JD spent half of his career with The Walt Disney Company. He started as a frontline cast member, became an operations manager and eventually landed in L&D. Anyone who spends a decade working at the most magical place on earth is going to walk away with interesting anecdotes. JD shares several highlights along his journey to discover the Modern Learning Ecosystem Framework. 

The stories are fun but also demonstrate how the ideas come to life in engaging and practical ways. For example, Chapter 8 explores how JD first recognized the importance of tactics like shared knowledge and performance support while designing a training program for Kim Possible – World Showcase Adventure at Epcot. Luckily, you don’t have to work at Disney to leverage the same strategy that helped cast members deliver exceptional guest experiences and apply it to working with your teams.

3. It will help you implement L&D’s biggest ideas

  • Learning in the flow of work
  • Skills
  • Measurement
  • Technology
  • Compliance
  • Ecosystems
  • Social
  • Mobile
  • Mindset

The most popular topics in workplace learning all come together in this book. That’s a lot to cover in 246 pages, but it’s also what makes this book especially rewarding. Rather than explore these topics in silos, readers can see how they work together—in practice—to make sure every employee gets the support they need to do their best work every day.

For example, take a look at the Modern Learning Ecosystem Framework, which serves as the foundation of the book.

Bar chart of the Modern Learning Ecosystem Framework showing types of training by increasing levels of structure vs. availability.

This framework provides step-by-step guidance for solving complex performance challenges. It helps L&D professionals blend familiar tactics like performance support and coaching to create simple, consistent, scalable solutions. This is just one of the models that the book introduces to help you architect a learning ecosystem that fits the needs of your particular workforce.

2. It’s probably the funniest L&D book ever written

There’s a Back to the Future reference on the first page. Wile E. Coyote is a central character. Batman comes up more often than he does in most DC movies. The Modern Learning Ecosystem isn’t just an insightful read—it’s an enjoyable one.

That’s because this is a story, not a textbook. It reads like you’re having a conversation with your friend, who happens to be the author of this information-packed and humorous look at the modern workplace. 

This book is without a doubt a reflection of the person who wrote it. In one chapter, JD shows you how to improve your learning measurement practices; in the next, he explains how he uncovered the secrets to effective coaching by watching infomercials at 3am. This is JD’s story, and it’s a fun ride that guarantees you definitely won’t get bored.

1. You can apply this stuff right now

It doesn’t matter where you work, how big your budget is or which technology you have. You can apply these ideas as soon as you put the book down, or even kickstart your transformation before you finish the last page. For instance, if you’re looking to add reinforcement to your learning strategy, you can flip to Chapter 6 and get started. 

The concepts presented in the book will come to life in different ways in different organizations. One company may use SharePoint as their shared knowledge solution while another uses Axonify. Regardless, the ideas work everywhere because they’re grounded in the reality of how learning on the job really works. 

Learn more about The Modern Learning Ecosystem at, join us on LinkedIn for the launch party or share your thoughts online using #IGotJDsBook.

JD Dillon, Chief Learning Architect's Headshot

JD Dillon, Chief Learning Architect

JD Dillon became an expert on frontline training and enablement over two decades working in operations and talent development with dynamic organizations, including Disney, Kaplan and AMC. A respected author and speaker in the workplace learning community, JD also continues to apply his passion for helping frontline employees around the world do their best work every day in his role as Axonify's Chief Learning Architect.

Read More by JD Dillon, Chief Learning Architect