Confessions of a Corporate Trainer with Jonathan Halls

Confessions of a Corporate Trainer Jonathan Halls IDIODC title card
November 5, 2020
4 minutes
Confessions of a Corporate Trainer Jonathan Halls IDIODC title card

What if Donnie and Mary had been a little bit Classical and a little bit Jazz?

Wait... what? You don’t know who I’m talking about? Well, check this out.

Okay. Now that you’re caught up here’s a more important question that we recently discussed on IDIODC with Jonathan Halls.

Do you train like an improvisational jazz musician or more like the first chair violinist of a symphony orchestra following the music as written?

There is no right or wrong answer to that question but the analogy does reflect what experienced trainers in the classroom understand that many instructional designers do not.  When designing and planning instruction there is a spectrum of flexibility given by designers to those delivering the instruction.  

Having your training facilitators follow the script exactly as written is important in many situations. But there also needs to be room left for facilitators to improvise.  Good facilitators can “read the room”, even if that room is virtual, and make adjustments to suit a particular situation.  Jonathan gave us some great examples and pointed out how we can do better in this episode.

It's an old conversation but one worth having again. Jonathan is the author of Confessions of Corporate Trainer and has many years of experience as a training professional.  He shared some insights and some questions he says our industry needs to be asking and answering.

And here's the really big question: What is learning?  

Sounds like a silly question. But we’ve gotten it wrong all these years. Learning is a long-term process that happens within the individual training participant. We don’t “create learning”.  

Do we (do you) have credibility with your stakeholders?

Trust is a big part of being successful.  You need to gain that trust from the c-suite and the stakeholders requesting your services.  

We talked about these questions and so much more.

You can view the full archive recording which includes the chat comments here.  

About Jonathan Halls

Jonathan Halls is the guy with an accent who can’t stop asking questions about talent development.  You’ll hear him talking about talent professionals as organizational superheroes, although he secretly worries that we’re not doing all we can to truly help people transform organizations.  You’ll also hear him predicting tomorrow’s trainers will be as much media producers as a classroom facilitators.

The former BBC learning executive and author of five books runs workshops, speaks at conferences, and helps organizations in the areas of evidence-informed learning facilitation, digital learning content, and talent development strategy.  Having worked in 25 countries, his first 20 years’ experience were focused on media training and digital transformation in TV and newspapers.  His last decade broadened into all sectors including retail, finance, manufacturing, government and non-profit.

Jonathan has worked as a trainer, training manager and head of a multimillion dollar training operation.  This vantage point has him as excited about the future of talent development as he is cynical.  He is author of Confessions of a Corporate Trainer (2019), Rapid Video Development for Trainers (2012), Rapid Media Development for Trainers (2016), Video Script Writing (2014), and Memory & Cognition in Learning (2014).  He has both a masters and bachelors in adult learning.  Before working full-time in talent development, he earned his bread and butter as a journalist, corporate communications manager, and talk show host, but not in that order.


Instructional Designers in Offices Drinking Coffee (affectionately known as IDIODC) is a weekly live videocast and podcast that helps instructional designers with pain points and provides best practices and industry insight.  

Every Wednesday morning at 10am ET hosts Brent Schlenker and Chris Van Wingerden guide us through an upbeat and candid conversation with their guests from the elearning and training world. The live cast session encourages peers to participate in the chat and share their own personal insight! After airing live, you can catch the learning podcast on all major streams such as Spotify, Apple and Google Play podcasts, as well as on YouTube.

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