Snapshot of ATD 2019

#ATD2019 wrapped up last week in beautiful Washington, DC and the Totara team welcomed delegates to the Totara Village to speak with ecosystem partners who were exhibiting alongside us: eThink Education, Synegen and GO1, with special appearances from our product extension partners, Motrain, and Zoola Analytics

Let's take a look at what happened at ATD ICE 2019...

ATD 2019 Expo

Oprah’s Keynote and the question of trusting your gut

After the high expectations of hearing Barack Obama last year at ATD 2018 in San Diego, We were excited to hear Oprah Winfrey kick off the event. While the line-up didn’t start at 5 am to score a seat, the room was still full of delegates who were hyped to hear Oprah share her insights on leadership, being of service and trusting your gut.

“What I understand and know for sure is that we share a common language: truth. We all want to live out the truest expression of ourselves as human beings.” - Oprah Winfrey

Oprah reiterated the need to trust your gut when making decisions, as she believes that often your intuition is correct, even going so far as to say that things have gone wrong in her life when she didn’t listen to her gut. While this could anecdotally resonate with some, a few members of the Totara team left Oprah’s keynote scratching our heads at this.

Trusting your gut is a tricky minefield as it relies on cues rather than details; it’s seen as somewhat of a romantic way to quickly simplify a decision, “intuition...can be highly influenced by emotion. It’s fast, and its conclusions arrive without analysis.” But as Katherine Ramsland, Ph.d. states, “although analytical reasoning is slower, it offers perspective, along with awareness of a greater range of factors. The result of careful, objective analysis is usually more reliable [than intuition].”


So based on a number of factors, including all the experiences, conditioning, knowledge, cultural and emotional biases that have been built up within me throughout my entire life - I will inevitably have a completely different gut feeling about a situation than someone else in the same spot.  So with all of this in mind, It was surprising to hear that Oprah not only pushed the idea of trusting your gut, but she also didn't address the personal unconscious (or conscious) biases we all carry with us and how these can actually affect the decisions we make (whether trusting your gut or not). Maneuvering around these biases is not easy, especially in the workplace.  For a woman with such a great platform at ATD ICE 2019 and the power to change mindsets, unfortunately, I  I left Oprah’s keynote slightly disappointed.

Thankfully though, our content partners GO1 were onsite to offer some perspective on managing and tackling unconscious bias, and decision making in the workplace by showing off some of the courses available in the GO1 premium library now available through Totara Learn 12. Lucky ATD 2019 delegates who start a new Totara subscription will get $3000 worth of GO1 Premium content courses. 

GO1 Totara ATD

It’s crazy to keep waiting for the old

We can’t keep up with how many times we saw eyes roll, or heard talk of inflexible contracts being echoed, “I only have x amount of years left!” when we asked delegates about the learning platform they’re currently using. Two very large proprietary vendor names kept coming up - as did the complaints, where I recall delegates telling me “we’ve been asking for more comprehensive tools for measuring analytics - it’s been two years and we still haven’t seen anything being developed by HQ.” Or my favourite - “it just doesn’t do what we need to do and we can’t keep waiting for these features to come out.”

One thing we know for sure is that technology has brought us many great things — including new learning solutions. Totara is built on an open source framework that allows users to iterate as fast as your business needs, so you can stay agile and flexible for today’s crazy market. In fact, waiting around for contracts to expire or for proprietary solutions to catch up to what the market needs and wants is crazy. Users don’t have to get locked into rigid contracts anymore. You can be free. You can have the freedom to learn.

Joining a community of learning innovation means more sharing, more success

ATD 2019 showed us what it means to be a part of larger talent development, learning and development community. Friends are made, ideas are shared, and it's a joint experience as we look for solutions together to solve common challenges.  Our time at ATD demonstrated how advantageous this is. Our partners are experts in Totara and know how to best utilise the system to meet your organisational goals, they shared insights into areas like learning design, gamification, analytics and more at the inaugural Totara Theater held in the Totara Village. 

Theater ATD

Totara user,  JLG Industries talked on Day 2 about how they established a Totara Learn extended enterprise instance in their case study session, and eThink spoke about how they helped Vistaprint create a platform to support over 3,000 sales specialists. Our aim in bringing in our experts and our customers is to let others know - you don't have to go at this alone. Partnering with the right vendor and Totara partner, means you can achieve your goals, no matter how lucrative or innovative your needs may be. 

JLG ATD Presentation

As our CEO Richard Wyles mentioned, "we make [Totara] for freedom." Here at Totara, we enable L&D professionals to be in control, drawing on the collaborative power of a global community of innovators, creators, and problem-solvers who all have shared goals, but differentiated needs. Every single person involved not only in the Totara ecosystem but in the broader industry helps shape the future of learning technology.

Events like ATD 2019, are great because it helps get your voices heard within the community. We'll always hear both good and bad feedback about learning platforms on the market, but for us, we take that feedback and bring it back to HQ to adapt our platform to suit the demand of the market. We want to ensure our community gets the support and software they need to succeed - that's the freedom and flexibility of enterprise open source learning solutions like Totara. 

Partners ATD 2019 Totara

Interested in learning more about Totara? 

Open source is the new norm, see if Totara is right for your business. 


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