Ask a Trainer: What Conferences Should I Attend?

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Dear Tim,

What other professional conferences would you recommend attending besides the ATD International Conference & Exposition? I know this one is the industry standard, and I hope to go in the near future, but I’m curious if there are any other national or even regional conferences you like. I'm looking to gain knowledge and insight, hear some new perspectives, meet contacts through networking, and attend breakout sessions pertinent to my daily work.

Hey there,

I hope you are able to attend the ATD International Conference & EXPO sometime soon! While there are many conferences to choose from, ATD’s is by far the largest, with several preconference workshops, multiple keynotes, and hundreds of breakout (concurrent) sessions. And that’s not to mention the various networking hubs, bookstore, and many other things I’m sure even I have yet to discover.

With that being said, there are plenty of other options to choose from, with each conference offering a unique vibe and opportunities to learn. Some are larger national conferences with a variety of content; others are small, local events with more intimate networking opportunities. Some are more focused on the general learning industry, and others are focused on learning technologies and e-learning.

Besides the ATD International Conference & EXPO, here are some of my favorite conferences:


ATD TechKnowledge
ATD TechKnowledge is a mid-sized conference focused on the use of technology in the learning space. While this conference has the bells and whistles of most (keynotes, concurrent sessions, and so forth), it also has some unique features. I happen to be on the planning committee for the 2020 conference and know we have some cool stuff coming.

ATD Core 4
The ATD Core 4 conferences are smaller conferences held throughout the year in different parts of the country. Each Core 4 event offers a curated set of speakers and is focused on the most essential topics for learning and development professionals: instructional design, training delivery, measurement and evaluation, and learning technologies. With this event, you’ll see a smaller vendor presence and have more opportunities for local networking.

The DevLearn conference is another mid-sized conference focused on learning technologies. Like other medium-to-large conferences, you’ll get multiple preconference workshops, keynotes, vendors, and concurrent sessions. For e-learning designers, this conference offers an event called DemoFest, which is like an e-learning science fair. It’s a great opportunity to network and to see the work others are doing.

Learning Solutions
Learning Solutions is a small-to-midsized conference focused on all topics related to learning and development. This conference is great for first-time conference goers since it offers a lot of variety. In fact, Learning Solutions was the first conference I ever attended in 2010 as well as the first conference I ever spoke at.


Local ATD Events and Conference
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention all the local ATD events and conferences that are held throughout the year across the country. If you take some time to look up your local ATD chapter, you’ll discover that they likely offer several smaller events throughout the year along with one or two larger events per year.

While this list is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the various learning conferences you can explore, I hope this gives you some insights into my favorite conference.

Best of luck,


Do you have a learning question you’d like me to tackle? You can email them to [email protected]. Also, visit the Ask a Trainer Hub to check out all of your questions and my answers.

About the Author

Tim Slade is a speaker, author, award-winning
e-learning designer, and author of The eLearning
Designer’s Handbook.

Sign In to Post a Comment
I would also add that the Training Magazine conference is a good one to go to. It's a smaller conference--similar to the DevLearn conference--and they have a multitude of pre-conference certificate programs you can attend to increase your professional knowledge. You can find out more at
Thanks for the recommendation, Teddi!
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.