Photo of the building where the conference was located in San Diego.

ATD International Conference: Corporate Learning Highlights and Trends

The 2018 ATD International Conference and Expo was held in San Diego.

The ATD International Conference and Expo is one of the largest events for corporate learning and training professionals worldwide. The schedule is packed with seminars on industry hot topics such as microlearning, soft skills, e-learning, leadership, employee engagement and much, much more. The expo hall featured more than 400 of the top learning and development providers — including EBSCO’s Accel5.

If you missed this year’s conference, here are some highlights and corporate learning trends that emerged throughout the week.


Microlearning has quickly become a hot topic in the corporate learning space, which was reflected throughout the seminars at this year’s conference. The schedule featured many presentations that ranged from high-level microlearning overviews to in-depth case studies. Attendees packed into the sessions to learn how they can bring their employees actionable lessons in short bursts of time.

Emily Hayden, EBSCO’s Learning and Development Business Partner, delivered a comprehensive presentation that showcased how she has incorporated EBSCO’s microlearning tool, Accel5, into her own leadership development courses. Attendees learned how she transformed employee learning with a program that includes assessments, manager conversations, peer-to-peer coaching and networking, and unique online resources using Accel5.

Microlearning has quickly become a hot topic in the corporate learning space, which was reflected throughout the seminars at this year’s conference.

Soft Skills

Soft skills were also a focus at this year’s conference. Sessions included topics that ranged from traditional skills such as leadership, to more modern ones like mindfulness and emotional intelligence. Speakers explored how mastering these skills can lead to a more productive and satisfied workforce.

Although many believe that soft skills are a critical aspect of talent development, it can be difficult to demonstrate if the time spent developing these skills make a positive impact on an organization’s bottom line. A presentation that discussed the ROI of Soft Skills brought in curious corporate learning professionals looking for a way to enhance (and prove) the success of their soft skill programs. The panel discussed how organizations can develop and evaluate soft skills, and demonstrated how to better design, develop and execute programs that deliver actual business value.

Adapting to Change

The learning and development space is always changing, which means that corporate learning professionals must stay one step ahead of the curve. Many sessions this year discussed ways to adapt to the ever-evolving landscape of talent development and create programs that are current and relevant to the new ways employees learn.

Author and CEO Bob Rosen discussed how to thrive in a disruptive and accelerating world using consciousness. Bob demonstrated how becoming more aware of your relationship with yourself, your relationships with others and your relationship with your environment can enable you to become more adaptive and successful when the world of business is constantly changing.

If you missed this year’s conference, or didn’t make it to the EBSCO Corporate Solutions’ booth, check out more videos and articles about corporate learning trends from EBSCO Corporate Solutions’ Accel5 with a free trial. Learn more about a microlearning platform that can deliver the latest corporate learning trends — critical soft skills including leadership, teamwork, innovation and more best practices from business authors, coaches and executives.

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