Essential Topics
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Essential Topics. Essential Learning. Essentials Series.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

I recently sat down with ATD’s Jason Sturges to learn more about the more than 50 Essentials Series online workshops that ATD Education now offers. Jason manages content curation and development for the Essentials series.

So if you’ve ever found yourself asking, ’“How do these courses differ from other ATD offerings, and how can they enhance my career?” keep reading! 

Anatomy of an Essentials Workshop

  • What? Essentials are workshops covering niche talent development topics. 
  • When? They consist of three 90-minute sessions over three weeks. 
  • Where? You can participate in them live online in the virtual classroom. 
  • Who? Essentials are for talent development professionals, and facilitated by thought leaders and practitioners. 
  • How? Essentials share knowledge using collaborative discussions, brainstorming, and breakout sessions. 
  • Why? These workshops will enable you to incorporate a new idea or skill into your L&D repertoire.

Why is the series called “Essentials?” These workshops cover essential skills and topics for talent development professionals using hands-on learning in the virtual classroom.

What is unique about the Essentials Series? Essentials workshops really excel at answering the question, “After this workshop, what can I do?” If you are ready to do something new in the talent development field, the Essentials are a great place to start. Learn about what’s new and trending and how to apply it to your organization, without having to devote travel time and money.

What super power will I acquire when I take a course? Learners walk away either challenged with a new idea or with a new skill that they can use the very next day on their jobs. An example of a new idea would be mindfulness—what is this hot new idea in the field, and what does it mean to my organization? How might you implement it? The Essentials can arm you with data and implementation ideas that make you say, “I hadn’t thought of it that way.” A new skill you could learn might be creating infographics with PowerPoint. In an Essentials workshop, you’d learn how to use this well-known skill in a new way that will make you, your team, and your organization shine.


I’m new to the talent development field; how can the Essentials help? You will get bite-sized, on-demand training on crucial topics that help you learn the ropes. Examples of great courses for newbies are writing learning objectives, overcoming challenging classroom behaviors, and the training coordinator introductory workshop.

I’m a talent development veteran; how do the workshops help me? This library of more than 50 workshops offers an inexpensive and quick way to learn about what’s hot and on the rise in talent development, and provide an opportunity to refresh skills that you may not have focused on recently.

What’s next for the Essentials? Look for new workshops on design thinking, evidence-based games with Ruth Clark, organization development, big analytics, and engaging remote employees.


With more than 50 programs and topics, it can be a bit overwhelming. Below are a few lists to get you started on finding the workshop right for you.

Greatest Hits: These Essentials get consistently high ratings for both content and facilitators.

New for 2017: The latest titles in our series. 

 Click here for our full list of online workshops.

About the Author

Amanda Smith is the former Learning & Development Community of Practice manager at the Association for Talent Development (ATD). Her specialties include educational planning, PR/marketing, and project management. Amanda has more than 12 years of experience in the non-profit sector, developing and marketing professional development programs for the adult learner.

Amanda brings a diverse and unique perspective on program development. She has worked for companies in healthcare, foodservice, commercial real-estate, and media industries, including the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP), International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA), Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA), and the National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation (NABEF). 

She also serves as president and spokesperson for the Alliance for Women in Media, National Capital Area Chapter (AWM-NCAC) in Washington, D.C.  She resides in the D.C. Metro area with her husband and two children.

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