Connection Point October studying
ATD Blog

A Critical Time for L&D Pros to Develop Themselves

Friday, October 23, 2020

Experts share reasons for the renewed importance of the ATD Virtual Conference learning tracks.

The Association for Talent Development’s Virtual Conference: Unleash Potential will feature six learning tracks, ranging from instructional design to the future of work. Many of the tactics by which talent development professionals execute deliverables within each category have drastically changed since this time last year. As we navigate through one of the most pivotal points the workplace has seen this generation, it is incumbent on learning leaders to ensure their guidance and practices reflect knowledge of the latest trends and strategies in talent development.

As evidenced by the titles of the sessions lined up for next week’s conference, presenters are fully aware of talent development professionals’ evolving learning needs. Many of the featured facilitators agree that there has never been a more important time for L&D, and they explain why the various learning tracks hold renewed value for today’s L&D professionals.

As part of the Org Dev track, Amy P. Kelly, founder and president of APK strategies, will lead the session “Build an Organization that Capitalizes on Change.” Having observed that the lines between our professional and personal lives have blurred, Kelly wants learning leaders to know that “thinking differently is here” and says that organizational development will be critical in shaping the way we work going forward.

“Tracking the expansion and associated opportunities for individuals and organizations related to the next era of organizational development is the top opportunity for org dev professionals to seize the once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape the future of work for the global workforce,” Kelly explains.


Future of Work is another track that offers tremendous learning value for talent development professionals. While some say the future of work is here, others contend that the pandemic has only signaled the beginning of a new era. Accordingly, learning assisted by artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and chatbots has quickly moved up on L&D professionals’ wish list. As part of the Future of Work track, FutureFit AI CEO Hammon Ekhtiari will lead a session titled “AI-Powered Reskilling and Outskilling: Reimagining Layoffs in the Future of Work.”

Ekhtiari contends that the pandemic has accelerated trends around the future of work by at least a decade. “Companies who are able to thrive through the next decade of rapid change will be those that today start developing the agility to better facilitate successful employee transitions, whether they be internal or external,” he says.


The multifaceted Core4 tracks—instructional design, training delivery and facilitation, measuring impact, technology application—also hold tremendous value. In a time where many companies are looking to increase their L&D investment, Kevin M. Yates, learning analytics program manager at Facebook, is looking forward to sharing ideas in his session “Solve Measurement Mysteries Like an L&D Detective.”

Yates says that, despite all of the changes we are now experiencing, the need to measure impact remains constant. “Now more than ever, it’s absolutely necessary to measure how learning is activating performance and business goals while people are working at home.”

L&D professionals have long touted the importance of lifelong learning for workers. However, now we must take our own advice in an effort to add value to the learning function at our respective organizations. The ATD Virtual Conference is designed to equip learning leaders, regardless of the tracks they choose, to better navigate their workforces through this time of unprecedented change.

Share your ATD Virtual Conference experience on social media. #ATDVirtualConference

About the Author

Connection Point is the daily news source written by ATD staff for the ATD Virtual Conference, relaying news, session coverage, and other updates.

Be the first to comment
Sign In to Post a Comment
Sorry! Something went wrong on our end. Please try again later.