PD: 2020 ATD Virtual Spring Conference

What an amazing gathering of industry professionals!

The ATD conference occurred June 1-5 this year, entirely online, obviously due to the pandemic. That did not stop presenters and participants from sharing their knowledge and techniques on delivering meaningful training and learning.

Considering the deplorable events of Memorial Day, I was also encouraged that presenters openly and vocally affirmed the inherent dignity of all human beings, no matter the amount of melanin.

I was excited and hesitant to join the conference.

We were entering the 3rd month of lockdown here in Saudi Arabia, future employment prospects were in question and conferences aren’t cheap. In many ways, those are The Best Reasons to join the conference! I took the plunge, eager to make professional connections, learn from the best minds in ID and eLearning, and further solidify my intellectual and emotional commitment to this career.

Overall, my experience was a success. I am a meek person, actually, so the imposter syndrome was strong. Also, there was that 7 hour time difference. I knew that I needed to get my investment’s worth.

I watched as many sessions as I could. I connected on LinkedIn to people who said things I thought were inspiring. I downloaded all the PDFs! I tried to join one roundtable a day (again, difficult because of the time difference.) I scheduled my own roundtable to which 2 people agreed to attend, but didn’t!

The best interaction was with one of the career coaches, Judy. I didn’t know what to expect from a career coach session. At that point, I’d applied to plenty of ID positions, so I was likely thinking of CV and interview tips. Instead, I got a heartfelt cyber hug and a dose of confidence in my own value as a person and a professional who has something to offer.

Second best interaction was a roundtable with two ladies who are developing a prison-to-profession training program and they were looking for ideas on assessing the outcomes. I found myself giving them a number of feasible ideas for holistic evaluations. That’s the collegiality I was looking for!

This is just a quick gush about how this conference really hit home for me. I want to be a contributing part of this field! It was exactly what the doctor ordered. I’m writing about it now because I don’t want to forget the lessons learned. As the pandemic drags on and the subsequent closing off of physical society, it is easy to sink into despair and a rut. I can’t let my momentum slow. There is so much at stake!

I’m also writing about it because ATD graciously has left the conference open for 90 days afterwards, so I’m able to go back and watch the videos I missed. I’ll make at least two more posts about some of my favorites, mainly regarding evaluation and gamification.

Stay tuned!

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