Webinars, War Stories, and Fishing

Joe Gornick
Written by Joe Gornick
on September 23, 2011

I’m in the learning solutions business. I manage our webinar business here at CCH Tax and Accounting in the U.S. and I work closely with our team responsible for the CCH Learning Center and other CCH professional development products and services. In my piece of the business, we’re now doing three web sessions a week and I have the great fortune to be able to listen and learn from some of the top thought leaders in the tax and accounting profession about matters of great interest and need for our customers. What I have come to appreciate is that the best learning comes not from a separate encapsulated event or discussions about rules in a vacuum – but rather from a specific context and a point in time that is very real to the learner and which can be immediately applied.

We have great instructors with decades of experience and knowledge. They’ve got lots of brain power! What’s more, they love to teach, are willing to share their wisdom, and are committed to helping their colleagues in the field make good decisions and avoid traps for the unwary. Their “war stories” (successes, slips and all) from years of working in the trenches with clients or in support of their organizations are compelling, meaningful and memorable.

Attendees of our sessions can ask questions directly to our experts and it is then and there that the most powerful learning and the greatest value is often derived. The questions point to real needs, urgent matters, and practical issues behind the rules that are not always apparent on the surface. While it certainly beneficial for attendees to have their own questions answered or points clarified, it is also helpful to hear the concerns or issues others have and what the experts’ responses are to those matters.

The best lessons learned, though, are not getting a specific answer to a specific question – but when the instructor walks through how the answer was determined and helps you see the decision pathway that was taken. When you know how to navigate, how to use the tools available, and how to ascertain where obstacles may exist you can reach any destination. Those ancient Chinese masters were so right when they said “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Although National Teachers Day here in the U.S. is officially celebrated in early May, I want acknowledge today all those teachers in all walks of life who share their knowledge and help others become better at what they do – including the great instructors who work with us here at CCH Tax and Accounting!

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  1. Rosalie Donlon on at

    Great post, Joe. I have often found the questions asked at conference sessions to be more helpful than the main presentation. And as someone who was not great at math, I’m sure that walking through the decision pathway is very helpful in the tax and accounting fields.

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