In Review: Webanywhere at ATD

Following the COVID-19 pandemic that had forced people from around the world into the confinement of their homes, the ATD 2022 event was a breath of fresh air. After a long time, people gathered from different parts of the world to participate in one of the biggest L&D events in the United States.

One of the most remarkable things about ATD is that it brings people together from  all corners of the globe to meet and collaborate for 2 or 3 days. It’s not just a business event, but a place for people to interact, make friends and learn new things. 

This ATD event was particularly valuable since many people who had hitherto only worked remotely met in person for the first time. It was an important event for several reasons, being the first ATD event after the pandemic is one of them.

Although attendance at this year’s ATD (around 6,500 people) was relatively low in comparison to the previous highs of 10,000, it is important to keep in mind that this is the first ATD event after the pandemic. After almost 2 years of working remotely from home, people were wary of coming to a live event for several days. Nonetheless, there were enough people to make the event engaging and a success.

Despite the comparatively lesser number of people attending the ATD 2022 conference, the enthusiasm of the attendees was palpable. Since more people are now comfortable with online events, footfall in future ATD events might also remain low. But it continues to be a one-of-a-kind event for L&D professionals around the world.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) were among the talking points of ATD 2022. Several European developers and start-ups showcased their work in both AR and VR. 

One exhibit drew a lot of attention, where a team had taken the original ABBA crew and augmented their faces back to their 1970s peak. Facial software has the potential to be one of the most influential fields in the future, and ATD 2022 gave us a glimpse of that. 

Both AR and VR are growing fields, and it is encouraging to see ATD 2022 accommodate and promote these new fields. Another vendor who grabbed eyeballs talked about mosaic learning – an AR and VR-heavy learning and development mechanism.

Translation is another key area of the ATD 2022 event. TransPerfect gave ATD 2022 one of its best evenings with a live demonstration of their project and platform. Translation continues to be of paramount importance in L&D sectors, communication being one of its key challenges. With such promising innovation coming from both the US and Europe, we can expect to progress by leaps and bounds in machine-based translation over the next few years.

A large part of ATD 2022 focused on course curation and cohort-based learning. HR departments around the world focus more on relaying educational resources rather than playing an active part in them. 

In 2022, we are focusing on how HRs can influence the learning resources to better manage and train the employees. A French start-up was particularly influential in this field. It focused on the learning experience through curated and customised training catalogues like podcasts, articles, and videos which could then be tracked by the L&D team.

The overall spirit of ATD 2022 was that of renewed vigour. We expect ATD 2023 in San Diego to be an even bigger success.