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That's the Association for Talent and Development (ATD)!

Senior instructional designer Samuel Apata joins me to talk about the Association for Talent Development, a.k.a ATD, a talent development organization that offers courses, trainings, seminars and more to L&D professionals. Not only is Samuel a member, he is also the Vice President of Marketing of the Dallas/Fort Worth chapter. We talk about the benefits of joining an organization like ATD, and the benefits of continuous development in general, whether that be by attending learning conferences or by participating in the eLearning Heroes Challenges.

You can find examples of Samuel's work at, or connect with him on LinkedIn.

To find out more about The Association for Talent Development, visit


The following transcript was auto-generated and may contain typos or spelling errors.

Leslie Early 0:03

Okay, today I am here with Samuel Apata. Do you prefer Sam? Samuel? Do you have a preference for that? Or?

Samuel Apata 0:13

Oh, yeah, I usually go by Samuel, only because it ends in elearning. If that makes sense,

Leslie Early 0:20

that's good. Marketing for you.

Samuel Apata 0:24

Yeah, you can say so. And as long as I'm not a Sam, so.

Leslie Early 0:27

Oh, that's true.

You are currently working as a senior instructional designer, right? Correct. Yeah. GM financials. Wow. That's, that's pretty impressive.

Samuel Apata 0:41

Um, well, I haven't heard it referred to that as Yeah, I'll take it.

Leslie Early 0:48

Okay. Well, I think it's impressive. So you could take but the way that we met, we met through LinkedIn, because I just had a little post about being enthusiastic about VR and characters. Correct. Someone tagged you on that? Yeah. So and then, since then, I've seen your, your VR and real and you've done some pretty cool stuff with VR. And,

Samuel Apata 1:08

yes, I'm really just starting to explore beyond. I mean, I've known about it for a while, but just starting to find that more and more people are requesting it. So I'm just getting started using beyond and it's been quite interesting.

Leslie Early 1:28

Awesome. So even though we are both beyond enthusiasts, today, you're actually here to talk about ATD? And why you are so passionate about that organization?

Samuel Apata 1:40

Yeah, yeah. ATD is one that I am currently focused on right now. I am the VP of Marketing for ATD. That's the Association of talent development. It was originally STD, but I got shorten a couple of years ago. And I really found out about ATD just written blogs and, and written about instructional design. And I found out that there was a local chapter, which is at Fort Worth chapter. So I joined and decided to run for office.

Leslie Early 2:17

Oh, that's cool. Yeah. So you were successful, I'm guessing.

Samuel Apata 2:22

Yeah, sure. Sure was. And I've been doing that for about eight months now. Which has been pretty interesting. So you know, just getting to meet lots of folks and the talent and development industry. So even while we remain in person, and now we've transitioned to an online into online meetings, so that's been quite interesting, as well as just you know, networking and, and, you know, been been relied upon to, to, to make the chapter look good. Right. So

Leslie Early 2:58

what what, which office Did you run for? What's your title? Their

Samuel Apata 3:02

vice president of marketing?

Leslie Early 3:04

Oh, yeah. Okay. So yeah, you really are responsible for making it look nice. Um, but I don't think I think they have a pretty good reputation in the instructional design community, as far as I can tell.

Samuel Apata 3:17

Yeah, we should all do. I mean, a TD is a whole shoulder It sure does, however, require reputable reputation, and if that's been used before, but you get the point. Yes.

Leslie Early 3:32

Yeah. So what are some of like, so let's say I had never heard of ATD before. And I'm new to instructional design. So what would be some of the benefits for joining the organization?

Samuel Apata 3:45

Some of the benefits are so every ATD has their own, you know, programs and peculiarities. I think for us, we have a special interest group. We have four different special interest groups that you can join when you become a member or are just visiting for the first time or you know, however long you decide to visit. So the one that I lead is the instructional design SIG and every every month during our chapter meetings, I'm tasked with coming up with a topic to talk about I know for the last one I did a I had a cig on on using storyline and beyond which was a Bring Your Own Device session with so that was quite interesting. So it's a place to just you know, come along and learn and network with other learning and learning professionals. Yeah,

Leslie Early 4:47

so this is just this your set you said you're in the Fort Worth correct shop. Or is it Yeah, cuz I see I see all different. You know, I've seen like, oh, So is there any, like cross communication between these groups? Or are they kind of separate?

Samuel Apata 5:07

Yeah, there are. I mean, we sometimes there are national events where, you know, we get to collaborate and get to travel for conferences and things like that. And there's also the big ATD conference every every year. So, as a member, you get concessions. And you know, you get some discounts and benefits, and sometimes you get to attend those cool events without paying too much for it. One of the benefits Yeah,

Leslie Early 5:38

unfortunately, probably not the case right now. Yeah. So has everything just been canceled this year? Or what? Is there a plan to like, reopen live or in person events?

Samuel Apata 5:53

I mean, for especially for us as, as online learning experts, we we tend to think of it as you know, there's some opportunities there, right. So even though we're not able to meet in person, I think it's this open dynamic has given some of as ascribed some importance to what we do as as online learning professionals.

Unknown Speaker 6:18

All right,

Samuel Apata 6:19

yeah. And the value for those types of learning doesn't need to decrease just because he can't meet in person anymore. I mean, I just finished attending a conference two days ago, the Southwest Learning Conference here and here in Dallas. It was all done online. But you know, it didn't take too much away from the impersonal network, and I was still able to connect with various individuals over the phone.

Leslie Early 6:49

Yeah, that's interesting. Yeah, I've seen I've seen a lot of like online conferences, advertised, I haven't participated in any of them. So I'm just curious. How, what, what the differences are? Like, it's hard for me to imagine it, but maybe just because I haven't gone through myself.

Samuel Apata 7:10

It's going to be quite different. I know they'll learn is the big one is coming up pretty soon. I was up there have learned last year, and now it's gone online. So I'm not I'm not sure how that's gonna play out yet. If it's even been considered for in person or online, but we'll find out soon.

Leslie Early 7:31

Oh, they haven't made any like communications yet about what that's gonna look like?

Samuel Apata 7:35

I don't believe so. But we'll see. I mean, they may have an in person component and an online component is what I'm guessing. But yeah, yeah. To find out for sure.

Leslie Early 7:50

Yeah, yeah. I've heard about devlearn. I haven't attended that one yet, either. And there was also this new one that started this year, the alert i what i think it's just called the Learning Conference.

Samuel Apata 8:03

Yeah, that is entirely online. I think. Yeah, that was entirely online. That's a pretty interesting one, too. I have. I know, a couple of members that participated in that one. You know,

I think it was a battle for the amount of battle, but you know what I mean, like a competition. Right. But

Unknown Speaker 8:29

yeah, they had that the show? Yeah.

Samuel Apata 8:33

And there were a couple of people from the E learning challenges that participate in that one. I thought that was pretty cool as well.

Leslie Early 8:41

Right? And you're pretty involved in the elearning. Heroes challenges, right?

Samuel Apata 8:46

Oh, yeah. Yeah, I've been doing that for about three years now. Pretty cool community to belong to, if any, if any IDs out there, look into, you know, upskill and practice what they know how to do or trying to learn. It's a it's a great place, lots of support and feedback and instant feedback on your projects.

Leslie Early 9:11

Yep, I've heard a lot about that, too. So that's something I need to do that's on my list of goals because I need to, I need to build my storyline.

Samuel Apata 9:24

And I guess the only way to, I mean, the best way to kind of build your skills would be to get prompt weekly prompts like David Anderson would usually help out with I think that's super helpful. Just being able to, you know, work on real life projects, sometimes and also, mostly, you know, made up project but it's pretty cool either way.

Leslie Early 9:51

Yeah. Even if it's made up though, because it's somebody, the person who's coming up with the assignments is somebody who has so much deep knowledge About the industry that they're making assignments that are pretty realistic. What you can expect, though? Yeah, that's super cool. Well, actually, we've talked about so many different things that are awesome. And people can look up, you know, ATD find a local chapter to join. Join elearning heroes get involved in that community. What? Beyond is an awesome tool? Learning conferences. We got we went all over the place. Yes. Okay. I love it. I love it. So how can people how can listeners connect with you or find you? If they want to connect?

Samuel Apata 10:45

Oh, yeah, sure. I have a personal website. It's my first and last name. So Sam, ella I have a ton of resources. If you know if anyone's looking to, you know, download free free stuff. It's all up there. And you can you know, leave me a note if you're looking to collaborate on any projects and always mostly available.

Leslie Early 11:09

Yeah, yeah. Awesome. Yeah. Um, okay. Well, thank you so much, Samuel, for joining me and taking time out of your day. I learned a lot. I hope listeners learned a lot.

Samuel Apata 11:21

Awesome. Awesome. Nice talking to you, Leslie.

Transcribed by


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