Why ATD 2015? Here’s why RISC is part of this premier training and development event…

The ATD 2015 International Conference & Exposition is just around the corner in Orlando at the Orange County Convention Center, running May 17-20. RISC is looking forward to being a part of this industry-defining event again! Our Director of Client Services, Duncan Welder, shares his insights on the show and the trends in learning and training development.

Why does RISC exhibit at ATD?

We have exhibited with the ATD for about 20 years now at the local and national levels.  Each of the ATD events has a bit of a different focus.  TechKnowledge each spring starts the year off ATD1with a look at new tools and emerging technologies.  The International Conference and Expo next week is one of the largest learning-focused conferences anywhere.  It is a great show for new and experienced learning practitioners with sessions applicable to everyone and a massive expo hall and access to thought leaders in the industry.

What are you looking forward to at ATD?

I am excited about a number of things this year.  First, with the increased adoption of xAPI and ADL’s adoption of the cmi5 standards, there are a number of technology-focused sessions like Marty Rosenheck’sNano-Coaching using Mobile Technology” and Tim Martin’s, “Matching Learning Paths with Success using xAPI.”  I also enjoy the Community Theatre sessions, which operate a bit like a round table or panel discussion.  On Tuesday, Robert Gadd and Chad Udell are on a panel to discuss Learning Technologies and I believe both have a great perspective on the industry

There are also a number of ‘extracurricular’ events that make the ATD great…There is an xAPI Tin Can Meetup on Monday night led by some of the brightest and forward-thinking people in the industry (I always feel smarter just being in the room with Saltbox’s Russell Duhon).  Riptide Software is hosting a Try xAPI event on Saturday highlighting open source resources to embed into learning resources and you can’t miss the ATD’s networking night.  The ATD set a high bar hosting their networking night last year at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. ..ATD2
This year’s event will be held at Universal Studios’ Harry Potter World – Diagon Alley and I’m sure it will be a great time.

Who do you look forward to seeing at ATD Conferences?

Wow, this can become a long, long list.  The ATD is a great time for me to spend face-to-face time with both clients and partners.  RISC works closely with Float Mobile Learning for our mobile development and Making Better for data visualizations as well as user interface design.  Both groups are active at ATD events, and I always look forward to connecting to discuss learning technology and to share barbecue secrets with Making Better’s Aaron SilversJulie Dirksen is giving two sessions on the Science of Behavior Change and I love her passion for designing effective learning.

It is also nice to connect with friends from ATD local chapters.  Katrina Baker, in addition to authoring “LMS Success” and “The LMS Selection Checklist”, is also Director of Technology at the Los Angeles area ATD and is hosting a Technology Conference in Los Angeles on June 19th where RISC’s president Art Werkenthin is presenting on cmi5.  Debbie Richards, President of Creative Interactive Ideas and Past President of (my hometown) Houston ATD, is a great friend and has a fantastic handle on emerging authoring tools.  I always look forward to catching up with her and hearing what is new and exciting at the show.

What are your predictions for the 2015 International Conference?

Well, I think it’s going to be a great event.  As far as predictions, I think we’ll really see more examples of where xAPI is being applied in the real world.  Gamification remains a hot topic and continues to gain ground in more traditional learning organizations.

Another trend that continues to emerge is the adoption of Agile or iterative approaches to instructional design.  I’m excited to see Megan Torrance’s session on the topic Sunday.  Along the same line, the ATD is offering a pre-conference workshop on leaving ADDIE for SAM which is certain to have attendees discussing rapid prototyping and revision of instructional content.

Finally, I predict that there will be a number of conversations focused on the learning ecosystem.  Certainly not a new concept but an area where I see a shift in the way learning and development works.  New tools and technology provide us the ability to put learning into the user’s context – mobile delivery, performance support on the job and easy curation of content are all examples.  At the same time, learning professionals have entirely new options for analyzing how learners interact with content that can be used to streamline training materials, choose optimum methods and head-off performance problems.  As the lines continue to blur around the “old bounds” that defined training in the past such as creating learning programs, we will see more integration of learning into business tools or processes so that we can shift our focus from developing training to developing people.

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Duncan Welder IV
Mr. Welder holds a Master’s of Education from Texas A&M University in Educational Technology and has more than 15 years experience in implementation of Learning Management Systems, both domestically and abroad. Mr. Welder has been recognized for his application of Learning Management Systems to manage regulatory-compliance in industries ranging from petrochemicals to finance and has provided presentations to professional organizations including the Gulf Coast Process Technology Alliance, the Northwest Process Technology Alliance and the American Society of Training and Development.
Mr. Welder’s career is founded in traditional instructional design and computer-based training development. He is a certified Development Dimensions International facilitator, a Kirkpatrick Certified Evaluator and facilitator of the Ohio State University curriculum development program. In addition to working in industry, Mr. Welder has held adjunct faculty positions at Bowling Green State University, Ohio and the College of the Mainland, Texas. Mr. Welder has been published in both Training Magazine as well as US Business Review.