Conference Take-Aways

Following the 2019 Dev Learn conference, Bianca Woods put together a list of questions to put your conference learning into practice. This week, our own Brian Washburn attended the ATD Core 4 Conference in Miami as a presenter and a participant. We decided to put Bianca’s recommendations into practice and see what they look like from the eyes of a participant. I virtually sat down with Brian and asked him a few questions inspired by Bianca’s recommendations. Here is what I learned.

How do you plan to use the conference resources when you are back at your desk?

Brian: I attended a variety of sessions, but two of them really struck me as being immediately applicable: a session on virtual delivery led by Kassy LaBorie and a session on learning ecosystems from JD Dillon. I confess that I’m not a great note-taker during sessions, so just the exercise of having this (virtual) conversation with you is helpful. Both presenters posted their slides on their own websites, and I’d like to go back and download those slides. Kassy had a series of activities that can be used for webinars that I’d like to re-visit, and JD had a learning ecosystem framework that could be very helpful when we’re discussing initiatives with our clients.

You spent two days at Core 4, what would you like to share with us, your team, about what you learned?

Brian: I honestly didn’t walk into the virtual delivery session with high expectations. I’ve read all sorts of things about how to engage the audience. I’ve applied them to our own webinars. How much more is there? It turns out the answer is: a lot. And it was a wake-up call to me, which I’ll pass along to the entire team. There are people out there who do this a lot better than we do.
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When we work with our clients, we ask a lot of questions, and we’ll push back when someone tells us from the start they need training to solve a problem. JD’s framework will be helpful for us to keep in our back pocket when talking with clients because it can give structure to those conversations.

How do you plan to connect with people with whom you exchanged information at Core 4?

Brian: As regular readers of this blog know, we just launched Soapbox, which is a tool designed to help people put together in-person training sessions faster with more engagement. In speaking with Kassy following her session, I’d like to continue conversations with her to find ways to can broaden Soapbox to help people develop virtual presentations faster as well. I also had a chance to speak with Eliza Blanchard, the editor from TD magazine, who helped me with my article about the elements of engaging learning experiences. We’ve talked about broadening that article and working on a book proposal. During the two days that I was at the conference, I also spoke with a number of people who are interested in a demo of Soapbox, so obviously I’ll want to follow up with them as well!

It sounds like Core 4 has some great sessions, and using Bianca’s list, Brian was able to take away a lot of value. How do you put conference learning into practice? Let’s keep this conversation going in the comments below!

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