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ATD Blog

TK23 Takeaways From Learning Technology Experts

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Conferences are always an exciting opportunity to connect with peers, discuss challenges, spark ideas, and discover what trends resonate with other professionals in our field. This year’s TechKnowledge conference (TK23) did not disappoint in that regard.

I reached out to a handful of L&D professionals—Megan Torrance, JD Dillon, Kassy LaBorie, Cindy Huggett, and Cammy Bean—to find out more about their TK experiences. They shared their unique takes on what was buzzing this year at TK, the impact of these themes on the L&D profession, and what takeaways they have for the field.

What themes did you see this year at TK?

“Two themes stuck out: leveling up the technology and leveling up our work. I saw lots of energy in this conference around three relatively new topics for our field: artificial intelligence (AI), data and analytics, and accessibility. Speakers and attendees engaged with considerably more nuance and depth than ever before. These tools aren’t simply a means to an end, but rather ways to get even more out of whatever learning modality you’re using.

“And amidst all the technology, TK was an opportunity to connect with some of the industry’s leaders in the tools and approaches we use every day. Beyond outstanding sessions, TK also offered portfolio review sessions where attendees could get direct feedback from the experts in our field like Debbie Richards, Carla Torgerson, Haley Shust, Sarah Mercier, Cait Quinn, Amy Morrisey, Ann Rollins, and Tim Slade.”
Megan Torrance, Chief Energy Officer, Torrance Learning

“It was so good to be back out in the world, sharing stories with the L&D community as we all converged in New Orleans. For me, the resounding theme was about resilience, experimentation, and pushing forward. Everyone’s been under such constraints and pressure these last three years of pandemic life and emerging into the new normal seems to be anything but normal.

Teams are figuring out what works for their organizations, working collaboratively to ensure alignment across different parts of the business, and pushing into stretch areas—like data and analytics—where L&D teams have huge gaps. We’re better when we do this together. It’s great to be together at a conference–to recognize each other, reconnect, and know we’re not in this alone.”
Cammy Bean, Senior Solutions Consultant, Kineo

What impacts do these themes have on L&D professionals?

“The way we think about the role of technology within organizational learning is finally shifting. We’re quickly moving away from our legacy single-platform or silver-bullet mentality and adopting an ecosystem view that will help us craft right-fit learning and support experiences. We’re no longer impressed by cool features and never-ending content libraries. L&D professionals are under pressure to solve meaningful problems and help organizations overcome disruption.


That means we must make smart, tech-enabled, data-informed, budget-conscious decisions as we architect our digital ecosystems. We must get past the buzz and hype to focus on solutions that are proven, scalable, and sustainable. At the same time, we must build our digital skills and maintain awareness of rapid digital innovation, especially as related to AI.”
JD Dillon, Chief Learning Architect, Axonify

“All of this comes at a time when our organizations and learners are expecting more of us. We can’t get away with the same old tired approaches—not when the rest of the organization is undergoing digital transformation. The level of consumer-grade technology that’s available today is outstanding and inexpensive (at least to the consumer).

Learning organizations need to make leaps and bounds forward in our thinking, design, development, and use of data.”
Megan Torrance, Chief Energy Officer, Torrance Learning

What takeaways or recommendations do you have for TD professionals?

“Make time to step out of the ordinary and experience the extraordinary. That’s what happened at TK23 this year! The augmented reality (AR) scavenger hunt experience designed and facilitated by Betty Dannewitz, Destery Hildenbrand, and Rachel Arpin was a delightful and highly effective learning experience. Engaging a large group of people to collaborate, problem solve, and have fun at the same time is no small feat.


Previously, I was not focused on AR for my business goals, but I decided to step out from what I ordinarily do to check it out. An idea brewed almost instantly, I had a few conversations, and now I cannot wait to create an AR project that’s perfectly suited to my company’s objectives!

Conferences like TK are the perfect place to explore topics that you might not normally be interested in or even understand. The talented speakers and the engaged attendees have ideas about our digital learning world that are changing how everything works. It’s worth taking a moment to consider what you might be missing by looking beyond your ordinary and discovering what else might be going on.”
Kassy LaBorie, Principal Consultant, Kassy LaBorie Consulting

“While it’s hard to describe the TK experience in words, it’s worth the try. The buzz and excitement were evident from the start. Excellent keynotes, informative sessions, and robust networking combined to make an unforgettable event. Attendees from all over the world joined together to discuss the latest talent development topics, from new e-learning techniques to infusing AR into training.

This year’s themes included immersive learning, cohort-based learning, and technology innovations. And threaded throughout the conversations was a solid reminder to focus on the learner, the most important part of it all. I walked away with so many takeaways that I can immediately use. I’ve already circled this event on my calendar for next year!”
Cindy Huggett, Virtual Training Consultant, Cindy Huggett Consulting

“Breathe, slow down, and take care of yourself. Jim Kwik’s opening keynote was an eye opener. He framed the power of focus, the importance of sleep, exercise, and self-care, and the need to keep challenging our beliefs about what’s possible. It occurred to me that taking in all the new technology, new possibilities, and exciting opportunities ahead in our field will require us as professionals to be a little less frantic, a little less scattered, and a bit more deliberate in our path forward.”
Megan Torrance, Chief Energy Officer, Torrance Learning

Did you join us at TK this year? What themes did you notice? What takeaways do you have? Share your reflections with the community below.

About the Author

Alexandria Clapp is the content manager for Learning Technologies and Sciences at ATD. She’s responsible for creating and curating content including articles, webinars, books, conferences, and more for talent development professionals. She also hosts the ATD Accidental Trainer podcast.

Prior to joining ATD, Alexandria worked at a research and development firm that applied cognitive science to improve learning outcomes. She trained partner organizations to deliver cognitive enhancement programs and specializes in leadership development, learning and memory, instructional design, and virtual coaching. Alexandria is a credentialed ATD Master Trainer and Expert Coach. 

1 Comment
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I appreciated the mix of technology applications and a grounding in the how and why of using technology such as Amy Morissey's session on effective questions in our learning, and learning in the flow of work with a focus on the 5 moments of need. Technology is expected in this age, but as professionals we must keep a focus on learning and the best use of the tools.
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