generated by AI, this image is an imagination of AI in the future workplace and is designed specifically to represent learning from the ATD24 conference

Be Creative Anyway: How ATD24 Made Me Feel Better About AI

Attending the ATD24 International Conference made me feel so energized and prepared for another year around the sun in talent development. The obvious buzzword: Artificial Intelligence (AI). I walked away with pages and pages of notes on how AI in training and development. Mary Ila kicked off our series on AI last week, so now I’m sharing a rundown (written in part using ChatGPT) of my key AI takeaways from ATD24.

Generative AI: The Game-Changer in Scenario-Based Learning

One of the sessions that really stood out to me was “Use Generative AI to Create Scenario-Based Learning” by Kevin Alster and Elly Henriksen from Synthesia. They showed us how generative AI can take the heavy lifting out of creating scenario-based learning (SBL). Imagine being able to quickly craft engaging, real-world scenarios that captivate your learners and improve retention.

The tools and frameworks they demonstrated were incredibly user-friendly, making it feasible for anyone to enhance their courses without needing a PhD in AI. This session made it clear that SBL, powered by AI, is not just a future concept but a present-day reality that can significantly elevate our training programs.

Navigating the Inclusion Maze with AI

Then there was the eye-opening session by Mychal Patterson of The Rainbow Disruption, titled “AI Doesn’t Mean ‘Always Inclusive.’” This was a deep dive into the potential pitfalls of AI when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Mychal highlighted some serious risks, like biased data leading to exclusionary outcomes and the lack of diversity in AI development teams. These are real challenges that can undermine your DEI efforts if not addressed properly.

This session was a reminder that while AI offers huge benefits, we need to implement it thoughtfully and inclusively to avoid reinforcing existing biases. We’ve written about inclusive training before, and now we are reminded to be more intentional with avoiding language and representation bias, with or without the use of AI.

Demystifying AI for Leadership Development

DDI also showed up strong with Patrick Connell’s session, “Demystify AI for Development: What’s Hype, What’s Real, and What to Do,” which struck a perfect balance between optimism and practicality. He debunked some common myths about AI (i.e. we’re not all losing our jobs) and showcased how it can be a real asset in leadership development.

From using AI-driven assistants for data analysis to generating personalized content, Connell provided a roadmap for integrating AI into our strategies in a way that enhances, rather than overwhelms. This session made AI seem less daunting and more achievable. Since the conference, HPC has practiced using AI to write first drafts of program learning objectives, training outlines, and more.

Redesigning Training Programs to Stay Relevant

Another session that hit home for me was actually during the Chapter Leaders Conference that some of us from ATD Birmingham attended prior to the International Conference. The session was “Making it Competitive: Redesigning Your Chapter Programming to Offer Relevant Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities” by Miko Nino. Miko stressed the importance of continuously updating and evaluating our training programs to keep pace with the changing demands of employers and learners. Using technology to assess and enhance curriculum effectiveness was a major highlight.

The session also covered developing marketing and financial plans to ensure these programs are not only impactful but also sustainable. It was a comprehensive guide to making our training offerings more competitive and relevant.

Tackling AI Integration Challenges

Of course, the conference didn’t shy away from discussing the challenges of integrating AI in training and development. But the consensus was clear: with careful planning and a commitment to ethical considerations, we can mitigate the risks.

For us, an example might be clearly identifying when something we deliver is made with AI, even in small part. If we use AI to create graphics or images that we share in marketing or in training programs, we need to clearly label those as made with AI. We’re all still learning how to use AI ethically, and it starts with a good faith effort on the front end.

So…What’s Next?

ATD24 gave me so many insights on AI in training and development. The sessions highlighted how AI can help make learning more personalized, efficient, and inclusive. But they also underscored the need for thoughtful implementation; the future of T&D is not just about adopting new technologies, but about doing so in a human way that truly enhances learning for everyone.

For now, my AI journey is all about “do it anyway”. Feel intimidated by AI and use it anyway. Don’t feel very creative? Create anyway. Using AI in my work helps me be creative anyway, and that’s a positive in my book.

Image made with AI to illustrate the idea of “create anyway”


Jillian Miles Massey