ATD22 was a tropical whirlwind of a conference, packed with sessions, activities, great industry speakers and insightful keynotes, wrapped up with a robust app to manage it all. The conference formerly known as ATD ICE was rebranded with a cool and funky tropical flamingo theme for 2022.

Let’s start with the Expo Hall

In the Expo hall, there was a huge variety of vendors, many with interactive booths (and a lot of fun, creative swag next to the standard pens, tote bags, and tchotchkes). We had some great discussions at the Evolve Solutions Group booth on potential uses for gamification and simulation in learning – there was a lot of interest and praise for our Taco Builder demo. We had some great conversations on potential use cases for simulations and learning games such as:

  • food and beverage
  • point-of-sale
  • product demonstrations for beauty and makeup
  • customer service and retail
  • automotive and manufacturing, and so many more…

Couldn’t attend the conference or missed stopping by the Evolve booth?  Schedule some time to connect!!

Let’s talk about sessions, speakers, and content

Sessions ranged in topics and intended audience, and while the occasional title was a bit misleading on the content, there was something for everyone. Sessions by industry-recognized experts were plentiful, which is a wonderful draw, but left me wondering if ATD reserved any speaking spots for first-timers.

Like others who recapped the event (Cara North and JD Dillion) I strongly agree that ATD23 should include more diverse speakers. Also as mentioned in that recap, it would have been nice to see more accessible considerations by speakers for things like color contrast and readability on slides, along with auto-subtitling (which as Cara points out, takes only a few clicks and very little effort.) I hope for ATD23 that the organizers push speakers to keep accessibility in mind.

As mentioned by others, the virtual component is great for those unable to attend in person and having access to so many recordings post-conference is an added bonus for all. For big conferences and events, having a complimenting virtual presence and sessions feels like a must-have in today’s post-Covid world.

Every conference needs an App

The app was excellently organized but left a few things to be desired. While there was capability to review slides and save notes for any session, many speakers did not have their slides loaded to the app, so one could take notes side-by-side the presented slides. During one of the sessions I attended on Monday, the app crashed and subsequently deleted all the notes I had taken on that session – including instructions from the speaker to receive a free copy of their book, which I was very interested in. Unfortunately, since the app saved only the first line of my notes, I wasn’t able to take them up on the offer – huge bummer. For the sessions that were recorded, I am looking forward to going back and review the highlights of the sessions.

Can’t forget about the logistics…

Logistics were very comfortable, with several hotels providing skywalk access to the huge conference center, which spanned 4 floors and dozens of rooms. While sometimes time consuming to traverse between sessions on different floors or wings (a map feature on the app would have been helpful for finding rooms), the space was relatively easy to navigate with clear signage set up for the event. With a variety of room sizes in the space, I found that while most had plenty of seats available, a few sessions were a bit overpacked.

ATD for Good and the conference vibe

The ATD for Good setup was especially awesome, with tables set up for stuffing backpacks with school supplies for children in underserved communities, and a puppy socializing pen on the last day. The organizers must have had their creativity caps on for the beautiful charging station, where you could color in black and white shapes with provided markers, while waiting for your device to charge. While ATD took steps to create a positive atmosphere with the photo booth and these fun, interactive elements, it still felt like the event could have done better to create a community mindset, open-minded attitude, and inclusiveness among attendees.

All in all, ATD22 was a worthwhile and incredibly valuable experience. We are all grateful to have attended and participated. Plus, we met a lot of great folks at the Evolve Solutions Group booth! To all those stopped by, thank you and keep in touch! We look forward to hearing from you.

Couldn’t attend the conference or missed stopping by the Evolve booth?  Schedule some time to connect!!