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ATD Blog

ATD Conference Connects Classroom Theory to Practical Application


Mon Nov 17 2014


In May 2014, thanks to the John Coné Student Scholarship, I had the opportunity to attend the ATD International Conference & EXPO in Washington, D.C. This conference occurred while I was completing the first year of my master’s degree program in human resource development at George Washington University and was about to begin a summer internship program.

The conference helped me to connect concepts and theories learned in class to practical experiences from talent development professionals. For example, watching Jack Phillips and Kim Kirkpatrick debate their respective evaluation methods was a great review (and very entertaining) of what I had learned in my adult learning and return on investment classes.


Additionally, the conference exposed me to topics and issues relevant to my field that were not addressed by my degree program, such as instructional design and the use of storytelling as a teaching tool. I am a healthcare educator and these sessions showed me how I could use storytelling to teach medical concepts to students in a more engaging and effective manner. Lastly, the diversity of attendees gave me a better understanding of the value of my degree and the potential career paths I can take once I graduate. As I near the completion of my degree, I have a better understanding of the fields and roles that I could pursue, thanks in part to my experience at the ATD International Conference last year.

Thank you to the ATD community and the John Coné Student Scholarship committee members for giving me this opportunity. I hope to attend the conference again and to make it an annual professional development event for myself.

Tommy Leblanc-Beaudoin

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