As part of our feature on trainer development, we asked TrainingZONE members to tell us a bit about how they came to be involved in the training profession, and offer some thoughts on what it means to be a trainer today. We received a fantastic selection of responses, which will be published throughout the month. Here, Jeremy Hall, a computer simulations developer gives his response.
- What's your current job role?
Creating and providing computer simulations for management development and business training for the corporate training market.
- What did you do before this job?
After a degree in engineering I went to the US to work for General Electric in manufacturing (where I received my business training). I returned to the UK to market Computer Time-Sharing for business planning with Honeywell and slowly and imperceptibly moved into training. Immediately before my present job I taught Marketing at Ashridge Management College.
- Describe your route into training
In order to enthuse business people about Computer Time-Sharing I developed a business game and this lead to another and then working in Honeywell Training and then being responsible for a Training Department. I then escaped to teach at a college and then went full time running my own training business.
- Did you always want to work in training and development?
No - it happened accidentally and insidiously.
- What would you say has been the most significant event in your career to date?
My first personal use of computers - Computer Time-Sharing January 21st 1967! This increased my productivity many times and allows me to be creative with out too much pain. And, over the years they have go better. From Computer Time-Sharing with 15 kbytes of RAM, through first generation of micro-computers (with 40 kbytes of RAM) to my current machines with 512 mbytes of RAM!
- How do you think the role of the trainer has changed since you began your training career?
I am not sure that the role of the trainer had changed but my understanding of what adult learning is has. When I started, I thought that training was all about instructing (doing the brain dump thing in front of the class) and could not understand why people liked the simulations that I developed. I have now learned about adult learners and their needs. I now see my role now is as "manager of learning" - a resource that facilitates learning and proactively jumps in when needed but leaves the learners to control their own destiny.
Also, I believe that education will change. Large swathes of the education/training industry are still craft based. The teacher does everything. They define, design and present. I believe, driven by technology, training roles separate into product designer (curriculum design), product manufacturer (deliverability design) and distributor (the person in the classroom or at the end of a communications link). I even wrote an article about this.
- What single thing would improve your working life?
Not having to do tax returns and administrative paperwork.
- What's your favourite part of the TrainingZONE site?
- Do you have any advice for those looking to embark on a career in training?
Get to know about how adult learners learn and about the
appropriate technology. Budget time to learn.
- What do you think are the biggest challenges facing the trainer today?
Understanding what learning is all about. I use computer
technology to support learning and have done so for the last thirty plus years. But, I do not feel that e-learning is a panacea. There are different learning needs and apprehensional learning is very different from comprehensional learning. Knowing is not the same as understanding or being able to apply the learning wisely. I guess my firm's positioning statement "from knowledge through simulated experience to wisdom" summarises my views.