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Talent Development Leader

Hot Topics and Trends at ATD23

Here is a roundup of the top trends and themes emerging from ATD23.


Mon Jun 26 2023

Hot Topics and Trends at ATD23

From May 21 through May 24, 9,000 talent development professionals convened in San Diego, California, for ATD23. The energy was palpable as the largest crowd of any ATD conference in four years gathered to hear from thought leaders and network with peers in the TD industry. Below is a roundup of the top trends and themes emerging from those exciting four days of learning.

Artificial intelligence. Not surprisingly, AI and generative learning were all the rage. Attendees asked questions, shared new practices, and addressed challenges they’re facing as AI transforms the talent development profession. Sessions covered the following topics:

  • Intelligent Automation

  • The Monumental Impact of ChatGPT and AI on L&D

  • Adaptive or Artificial Intelligence

  • Using UMU AI to Design and Deliver Effective Learning Programs

Psychological safety and belonging. A focus on employee well-being remained front and center. Attendees learned about new research on compassionate leadership, inclusivity, and emotional intelligence. Overall, there was an acknowledgment of employee burnout and disengagement and a hunger to apply best practices to create psychological safety for learners. Popular sessions within this space included:

  • Building Belonging: Currency of the Inclusive Leader

  • Psychological Safety’s Impact on Creativity and Innovation

  • From Theory to Results: Making Emotional Intelligence a Competitive Advantage

Learner-centered design. Sessions within the learning and development track displayed a continued shift away from content-driven learning design and toward learner-centered design and experiential learning approaches. Themes included:

  • Going beyond design thinking approaches to improve performance and enhance learning transfer, application, and retention

  • Acknowledging the challenges in designing training programs that align with business goals and considering learner context (diverse cultures, backgrounds, experiences)

  • Prioritizing the impact and purpose of learning and aligning with business goals and organizational needs

Skills. All things skills were top of mind. Attendees considered taxonomies, a skills-based approach to employee development, and the capabilities critical for success in the future workplace. The use of AI for upskilling and reskilling was an important topic this year, too.

Workflow learning. What is learning in the flow of work, really, and how is it different from on-the-job training or performance support? Attendees explored these considerations and discovered tools to immediately implement for enhanced learning in the flow.

ATD covers these trends and themes in Talent Development Leader, its dynamic multimedia publication that fosters and promotes the thought leadership of those who are influencing the talent development field. It is ATD’s best content for TD leaders. Check out more resources on these hot and emerging topics here.


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