The Top 5 Sights and Sounds at ATD International 2016

The annual ATD International Conference boasts one of the largest gatherings for folks in learning and development, human resources, talent acquisition, and the like. This year, held in the Mile-High City, did not disappoint. Attendees from all over the world were able to choose from numerous speaking sessions, visit exhibitor booths, and network with partners and peers. Here are five of my favorite takeaways from this year’s conference:

1. Rock Star Learning with Gene Simmons!

Amid an array of vendors, one motley crew thoroughly stood out. With their orange-clad and boisterous staff cheering at random moments throughout the expo, attendees had #eLearningbrothers on their radar. As leaders in eLearning, they provide templates across all types of business industries that will help your team become learning rock stars. Options include stock, custom, and everything in between. With a fun twist and culture on a traditional topic, it’s easy to understand how they’ve become standouts amongst the crowd.

2. Chair Massage Giveaway

While the conference itself provided an oasis for all things learning, the Inkling booth was truly a #knowledgeparadise. With clean and crisp colors and a sleek aesthetic, there was an obvious appeal to all attendees. The ultimate crowd-pleaser, however, were the chair massages Inkling provided for conference attendees as a relaxing takeaway. Conference-goers left the booth relaxed, revitalized, and remembering Inkling.

3. #Gamelearn: Practice Makes Perfect

Gamification isn’t just a buzzword in today’s learning and development world; it’s a movement backed by copious research and science. We caught up with Dr. Mak Kishun who shared the ideology behind Gamelearn’s philosophy: Practice makes perfect. While they are used across all industries and job functions, they have a very interesting approach to higher education. They give college and trade students an environment to put their video game skills to test while building out their soft skills, so they are better prepared when they hit the job market. Now that’s a video game that students should spend more time playing.

4. Mind, Body, and Soul

To break from the constant brain stimulation of the conference, Inkling hosted a morning yoga session on Tuesday for attendees and vendors. The yoga session provided a nice juxtaposition to the conference, taking place outside in a sculpture garden. The hour of fresh air, vitamin D, and a meditative atmosphere were the perfect way for ATD participants to start the morning ahead of a long day of sessions and networking.

5. Silvrthread: Virtual Reality

Aside from the numerous conversations I had with folks while working the Inkling booth, perhaps my most memorable experience was at the virtual reality offerings of Silvrthread. Their simulated reality was so lifelike; it even caused my colleague, Darren Wong, to fall down during a simulated skiing experience (sadly, this was not captured on film). Their technology helps professionals practice scenarios before they are put to test in real life. EMTs, for instance, can use Silvrthread to practice their CPR skills to save the life of a car crash victim. The “practice in context” better prepares the learner to execute best practices under pressure.

With the caliber of talent and wealth of knowledge amongst attendees and speakers so densely packed into a brief experience, describing this year’s ATD conference as stimulating is a definite understatement. If the next ATD gathering is anything like this one, that’s something to look forward to for sure!

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