ATD 2018 Conference Recap & Take-Aways

The Open LMS Team spent a jam-packed week in San Diego for the ATD 2018 International Conference and Exposition. Over four days, our team had a ton of great conversations with prospects, were able to catch up with some of our clients – which is always a highlight for us! – and were able to collaborate and brainstorm with our partners at Totara HQ.

Totara Village

It was great sharing a booth with the team at Totara! With the Totara team by our side, we were able to walk attendees through deep demonstrations of the platform and we had product experts on hand to answer any “in-the-weeds” technical or specific Totara customization questions. It was also nice to catch up with Totara HQ to discuss the roadmap for the future of the product. There are great things in store and we’re excited to share in these new developments over the coming months!

President Barack Obama's Keynote: Leadership, Values & Change

Obama ATD 2018

Our team was very excited to kick off the conference with Former President Barack Obama’s keynote on Day 1. In a panel setting, ATD President and CEO Tony Bingham asked open-ended questions that Obama could use to craft responses reflecting his approach to governing and leading his taskforce. During this talk, Obama shared some amazing insights and tips on how to structure the most effective learning environment in your organization, using examples from his time in the Oval office on what worked and, just as importantly, what didn’t. Here are some of Obama’s tips for creating a thriving culture of engaged employees in the workplace:

  • Trust your employees with big responsibilities, no matter their age or “rank.” Obama mentioned that he trusted some 22 and 23-year-olds with some big responsibilities during his 2007 campaign. He also mentioned that during his round-table meetings with his top officials he would make a point to ask the people in the “outer-ring” for their opinions. Giving your employees the chance to prove themselves, shoulder responsibility, and thrive with their tasks benefits the entire company by encouraging every employee to step up to the plate and be prepared to be involved.
  • Teach good values and stick to them. When faced with challenges – and perhaps even overwhelming odds – you will return to your values and the lessons you’ve learned during your lifetime to overcome any hurdles. When asked how he prepared for the presidency, Obama talked about the values that he and his wife got from their families that stayed with him throughout his two terms: “Being honest. Working hard. Being kind. And being useful. Carrying the weight. Being responsible… Those are the things that will get you through hard times as well as good times,” he said. “Also give meaning and purpose to what you do.”
  • Get employees to tap into their best selves. When asked what the most effective way to train your employees, Obama answered to resounding applause: “You’re most effective training somebody else [when you] get them to tap into their best selves, right? Get them to overcome their insecurities. To get them to be open to new ideas and to get them to be respectful of others they are working with. Those things are most of the time what makes or breaks an organization.”
  • Make change one step at a time. And finally, when it comes to making positive change in your organization, Obama reminded the audience: “Change is a process that doesn’t happen in one fell swoop.” He advised breaking up change “into its component parts,” and working together to increment the small changes that will lead to your larger goal.

During his keynote, Obama noted: “Technology is driving disruptive change at a pace we’ve never seen before” – and he’s certainly not wrong. Walking the expo hall at ATD 2018, attendees were able to glimpse the most cutting-edge technology that is being used to drive change in the education space. The sheer number of options is enough to make your head reel! With the multitude of different technologies, tools, and strategies that are available for structuring and enhancing your professional education programs, it’s becoming increasingly more important to not only stay aware of the new technologies and trends, but to have a partner you can trust to help you navigate the ever-growing and evolving eLearning ecosystem. The learning platform – or the LMS – used to be enough to manage, store, and distribute eLearning to learners. Today, although the learning platform is still the main component within the learning strategy, organizations are including additional tools to provide a more custom solution, including Learning Record Stores (LRS), Gamified Content, Simulations, and more. Deciding what other tools to incorporate into the eLearning ecosystem can be difficult, especially when you are looking for deep integrations to allow these tools to talk to one another. That said, working with a partner who is up-to-date on the latest and greatest is becoming vitally important for organizations that are looking to navigate the eLearning ecosystem and to create a custom solution for their business.

Meeting up with Open LMS Clients

Seeing our clients in person at these conferences is always a highlight for our team. Thank you to everyone who stopped by the Open LMS booth to say hello! Here are some photos of our clients as well as some other photos from our time at ATD 2018…


eThink InflataLounge ATD 2018

Obama ATD 2018 Keynote

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