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Mob Rule Learning: Camps, Unconferences, and Trashing the Talking Head Paperback – October 1, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Information Today, Inc. (October 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0910965927
  • ISBN-13: 978-0910965927
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,116,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


 “Mob Rule Learning is an eye-opening look at how and why we learn, and is absolutely the seminal text on Unconferencing.” —J. P. Porcaro, founder, and National Library Unconference Day

“Michelle Boule has done a great job of describing the benefits and challenges of unconferences, and how to successfully run one. But she doesn't stop there—she extends the unconference idea into classrooms and organizations for corporate and student learning opportunities, too. Definitely a must-read!” —David Lee King, author, Designing the Digital Experience

About the Author

Michelle Boule is a Geek Librarian living in Houston, Texas. Michelle went to Texas A&M University and received her MLS from Texas Woman’s University. She was recently a social sciences librarian at the University of Houston. She now spends her time writing and consulting while trying to care for her growing brood of children and large dogs. In 2008, she was named a Library Journal Mover and Shaker. Michelle has created online learning environments, taught in-person classes, presented on a wide variety of technology and training subjects, shelved books, read books, written articles, organized unconferences, and participated in subversive activities in an effort to save the world. Michelle will read almost anything in book form, loves to cook, bake, go camping, and believes Joss Whedon is a genius. Michelle can be found online at A Wandering Eyre (

More About the Author

I am a Geek Librarian from Texas. I have an English degree from Texas A&M University and received my MLS from Texas Woman's University. I am married to my very own rocket scientist who puts up with my crazy ways and keeps me around for reasons undiscovered by modern scientists. We are avid homebrewers with our own kegging system, fermenting fridge, and storage fridge for bottles. I have 2 bairns, named Gideon and Washington, who are not only completely adorable, but destined to be geeks as well. We have a Nebolish Mastiff, named Pullo, and a Great Dane, named Wicket. I will read almost anything in book form, love to cook, bake, go camping, and believe Joss Whedon is a genius. I dislike steamed zucchini, snow skiing, and running.

Visit A Wandering Eyre at for more writing, information about past presentations, and other musings.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Despite the title, Mob Rule Learning is really two 100-page books on related subjects. Part One is about camps and unconferences, as the title suggests, while Part Two is about using social software to make classrooms (both traditional and online) more participatory. (Note that coverage of MOOCs is completely missing from Part Two, though that's understandable given that their popularity is relatively recent.) Boule also seems unsure whether she's writing an academic book or a how-to guide, making the book less useful for those who are looking for something at one or the other extreme. Overall, my impression is that the material in this book might make a few good shorter books or articles, but that it's a bit of a muddle as it stands. I also found reading it tedious: Boule spends a lot of time repeating herself or stating the obvious.

Nevertheless, this book may be worth skimming if you're interested in the topic(s). Each chapter includes endnotes that point to useful resources and the appendix lists many useful resources worth exploring.

Disclosure: I obtained this book through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.
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By Andromeda on November 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
Love this book. It's full of eye-opening, exciting ideas for running conferences and other learning events -- ones you could apply to the entire structure of a conference, or just selected elements. Lots of ways to unlock positive energy and participation, plus a range of examples of the ideas in practice. Also, a roadmap of steps for event organizers can take -- very helpful! I've been recommending it to everyone who will listen and hope to be able to apply some of these ideas to a conference I'm involved with planning.
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Format: Paperback
I was chosen as an early reviewer for this book. I did not get it for a few months and then it shows up on my doorsteps. I am pretty glad it did. The book, while not perfect, holds the distinction as being the one that introduced me to the formalized mob learning concept.

Michelle Boule is kind of a pioneer since this is the first book that I know of which covers the subject. She does so in a very comprehensive way. Even so, it left me hanging for a few things, partly my fault though. I will explain.

The author comes from the library science area, as such the people she deals with are much more likely to accept these ideas of having unstructured conferences and I guess are much more eager to try out some of these more adventurous ideas. I am an engineer, as such I had a very hard time trying to get something concrete from the book. Again, not the author's fault, I am just not the usual audience that would read this kind of book. She did convey, quite brilliantly, the excitement of discovering new ways to communicate and problem solve. I think she was able to convey a necessarily amorphous concept in a very strong way to the audience. In essence the idea is to let people come up with a way to learn and communicate and come to decisions organically, something that is very hard for people to do. i think the author did a very good job of making her points and relating her own excitement to the readers.

The book is ordered in a very logical way, her emphasis is actually on the practical aspects of utilizing the mob rule methods. Her examples are all very practical and goal oriented. The methods she listed were all very interesting and sounds like they will be very useful. BUT, this is not a how-to book, and I think that is by design.
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Format: Paperback
Mob rule learning, as described by Michelle Boule in her book by that name, is about creating participatory learning communities around a topic of shared interest. She not only provides a description and rationale for participant-designed learning events, which she refers to as camps or unconferences, but explains how to design such events. Many readers will already be familiar with design options Boule suggests, such as Open Space Technology, Appreciative Inquiry, Nominal Group Technique, PechaKucha, and others. The value Boule provides is in bringing these various methodologies together under the organizing concept of unconferences. The author also provides case studies and design recommendations for using camps in higher education and the workplace. College teachers, corporate trainers, conference planners, and others responsible for organizing learning environments will benefit from this book. Boule provides clear explanations and a directory of helpful resources. There is also an accompanying website to the book that provides additional sources. Boule's book is a timely contribution to the growing movement to redesign how we facilitate learning in colleges and organizations.
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