Spark: The Art and Science of Adult Learning

Spark: The Art and Science of Adult Learning

Event Information


Jan 30, 2019 - Jan 31, 2019


9:00 AM - 4:00 PM


CAE Hours:




Member Price:


NonMember Price:


Access Points:



CAE Credits: Registrants will earn a maximum of 10 CAE credits.

Providing professional development programs that align with your association’s goals is increasingly challenging in an environment where technology is constantly evolving, member expectations are rising, and competition is growing. Spark: The Art and Science of Adult Learning is a two-day virtual conference designed for association professionals to explore current trends in association education and plan future directions for professional development programs that drive nondues revenue.

Through a virtual and interactive platform, Spark incorporates live chat into sessions, allowing you to share your insights and learn from your peers about the art and science of personalized learning, engagement, and technology and how to apply principles of adult learning to instructional design. Register today to:

  • explore association professional development trends
  • discover strategies to remain nimble in the face of technological advances
  • gather tips and tools and how to apply them to your educational programming

The online conference is scheduled over two days and features live online sessions and facilitated chat discussions. Before the first day, registrants will receive login information and links to test their computer and become acquainted with the platform. Participants will have access to recorded sessions, reference materials, and more for up to 60 days following the program.

Registration for this online conference will close Tuesday, January 29, 2019, at 12:00 p.m. ET.

Register here for the two-day conference, or register for one of the individual days:

Day 1: Learning Design, Tools, and Applications

Day 2: Learning Strategy, Impact, and Future Trends

  • Agenda

    • Wednesday, January 30, 2019

      9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
      Opening Keynote: Kindling a Spark: How to Engage and Motivate Learners With Emerging Learning Trends
      Michelle Brien, VP of marketing and product strategy, WBT Systems
      Linda Bowers, CTO, WBT Systems

      In the world of continuing professional development, associations have a huge advantage over higher-education institutions and for-profit organizations. Along with the authority, credibility, expertise, trust, and brand recognition you’ve established, you most likely already offer educational programs that address the needs of employers and employees in your industry. How do you build on that head start to ensure continued success? Discuss how emerging learning trends can help you create transformative professional development experiences that will engage and motivate learners while making you the preferred education provider in your industry.

      10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
      Applying Outcome-Based Approaches to Learning Programs
      Janice Jones, Ph.D., interim associate dean, college of education and leadership, Cardinal Stritch University
      Mette Baran, Ed.D., associate professor, Cardinal Stritch University

      Outcome-based learning emphasizes student awareness of learning outcomes and outlines what results are necessary to demonstrate achievement. Explore how to develop your program curriculum around the outcomes you would like the learner to demonstrate. Identify the various ways in which adult learners express their understanding of what they learned.

      The Neuroscientific Basis for Professional Development
      Sherry Keramidas, Ph.D., FASAE, CAE, ED, American Occupational Therapy Association
      Debbie Amini, Ed.D., OTR/L, director of professional development, American Occupational Therapy Association

      An understanding of the connection between neuroscience and education is transforming professional development. Discuss how the neuroscience of learning can inform how you create professional development activities that target learners’ motivations and emphasize content retention. Assess case-study applications showing how selected learning experiences can support competence, enhance critical thinking, and encourage innovation.

      12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
      Choose the E-Learning Authoring Tool That’s Right for You
      Diane Elkins, president, Artisan Learning

      What’s the best e-learning authoring tool out there? There’s no one right answer; it depends on what matters most to you. Identify key features and characteristics that differentiate tools—such as price, ease of use, interactivity, accessibility, and mobile compatibility—so you can make the best choice to meet your needs. Gain perspective on how popular e-learning authoring tools such as Storyline and Captivate stack up in these categories. Take a quick look at some of the major tools to get a general sense of what it’s like to work with them.

      Successful Learning Experience Design for Adult Learners
      Merle Schwartz, Ed.D., VP, learning experience design, Six Red Marbles

      Learning experience design is key to creating learning experiences that are relevant, memorable, and engaging. Discuss strategies for taking a learner-focused design approach that allows learners to achieve their professional goals.

      1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
      Diversity, Inclusion, and Unconscious Bias in Adult Learning
      Kuheli Dutt, Ph.D., assistant director, academic affairs and diversity, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University

      Promoting diversity and inclusion is essential for professional development. To foster an inclusive environment, you need to understand how to identify and combat unconscious bias and stereotypes. Get lessons from real-life examples and case studies and learn how to apply them to your own programs.

      Microlearning: Why You Should Be Offering It to Your Members
      Rebecca Campbell, CAE, CPE director, Colorado Society of CPAs

      Technology and microlearning have caused the learning experience to evolve. The ability to quickly deliver new information in the form of microlearning modules could help associations position themselves as trusted early sources of new techniques and information, increasing their competitive value. This session will help you identify the questions you should be asking to determine why you would offer microlearning and what initial implementation steps you would take.

      3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
      Leading Learning Innovation
      Tracy King, CEO, InspirEd

      Professional development teams are routinely told to shake things up by introducing innovations into learning programs. But how do you nurture new ideas without rushing to embrace flash-in-the-pan fads? Learn what counts as innovation and how to intentionally generate it in a team. Evaluate your innovation initiatives to catalyze the next idea.

      Thursday, January 31, 2019

      9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
      Using Adult Learning Principles to Stop Boring Virtual Training
      Nanette Miner, Ed.D., managing consultant, The Training Doctor, LLC

      “That was just like a real class!” If you hear that exclamation after a live, virtual, instructor-led class, then kudos to you—you’re doing everything right. But if that’s not the typical response, it’s time to ensure that you are applying the right adult-learning principles to your virtual classes and learning events. Analyze the five basic principles of adult learning and how to use them in an online environment.

      10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
      Measuring the Value of Your Learning Programs
      Chris Urena, CAE, director, professional development, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

      How do you measure the value of learning and demonstrate that your professional development programs are yielding the desired results? Return on investment is a valuable key performance indicator, but it doesn’t capture the entire impact of your program offerings. Examine four evaluation dimensions to give you a holistic perspective on the efficacy and value of your programs.

      Using Emotion to Build Meaningful Member Relationships
      Sylvia Long-Tolbert, Ph.D., MBA, clinical marketing professor and behavioral researcher, Carey Business School, Johns Hopkins University

      Leveraging emotion to drive member behavior remains a popular strategy among associations. However, to truly understand the role emotions play in promoting desired business goals, it is essential to study emotions as a source of motivation for behavior as well as a reaction to marketing content. By understanding the art and science of emotion, you can find new ways to detect which emotions best nurture the desired responses from members. Develop a better understanding of when, why, and how to appeal to members’ emotions, which can be a powerful tool for strategy, communication, and membership service professionals.

      12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
      Preparing Speakers for a Successful Online Learning Experience
      Sara Meier, MS.Ed, CAE, senior VP, MCI USA

      Designing a successful online learning experience includes full speaker engagement. Review best practices for speaker management, including cultivating educational content, vetting and managing speakers, preparing speakers to virtually present their materials in an engaging manner, and wrapping up after the program.

      Developing Member Leaders: Creating a Pipeline of Leadership Talent
      Alice Waagen, Ph.D., president, Workforcelearning

      A major challenge associations face is growing and maintaining a pipeline of volunteer leaders. Associations can take a proactive approach to filling their leadership pipeline by delivering professional development programs designed to improve members’ leadership skills. Identify best practices for implementing cost-effective leadership development programs that will build a cadre of skilled and knowledgeable leaders to partner with you in achieving your association’s mission.

      1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
      Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality: The Future Is Now
      Greg Wilder, COO, Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants

      Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) will change how we interact in a learning environment, and in many cases, they already have. Discuss the concepts of AR and VR and evaluate how these platforms can enhance creativity and engagement. Future-proof your association by understanding the technologies that are changing how we work and live.

      3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
      Closing Keynote: The Challenge Mindset: How Small Experiments Produce Better Ideas
      Greg Roth, speaker, trainer, creative consultant, The Idea Enthusiast

      You've read the research, listened to the experts, and reviewed best practices and case studies. But now, you need to create something new. Where do you start? How can you avoid churning out the same old thing? Explore how developing a culture of small experiments—including challenging yourself and your team to create every day—can lead to better ideas, better teamwork, and more successful learning programs.

  • Speakers

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      Janice Jones

      Janice E. Jones received her Ph.D. in Urban Education with a specialization in Counseling Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is a professor, chairs the Leadership Division of the College of Education and Leadership at Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee and currently serves as Interim Associate Dean. She is a certified alcohol and drug counselor and a certified clinical supervisor for alcohol and drug counselors. Dr. Jones’s publications include articles and book chapters in the areas of training and supervision, positive psychology, multicultural awareness and training, successful life transitions for people with disabilities, and career and life transitions. She is actively engaged in applying positive psychology to practical problems, and is researching the impact of using positive coping strategies on the academic, career, and life outcomes of diverse, low-income youth. Dr. Jones teaches research methods courses in the Doctoral Leadership Studies department at Cardinal Stritch University. Dr. Jones also serves on the executive board of Kids Matter, Inc. a non-profit group that is working to change foster care in the state of Wisconsin.

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      Sherry Keramidas

      Sherry Keramidas, PhD, FASAE, CAE, is the executive director at the American Occupational Therapy Association. For 20 years Keramidas served as the executive director of the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society. Previously, she was CEO of the American College of Dentists, as the Associate Executive Vice President of Research and Education of the American Physical Therapy Association, and as the Scientific Director of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. She also served as a special consultant to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) working on research program evaluation, strategic planning, and interagency collaboration in the Office of the Director and across the NIH. She has offered her experience to advisory groups for government agencies and academic organizations.

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      Debbie Amini

      Debbie Amini is the director of professional development of the American Occupational Therapy Association. She is an occupational therapist and has been an occupational therapy educator since 1998, having founded an occupational therapy assistant program and serving as an assistant professor in a master of OT program. In her current position, Dr. Amini oversees the development of the AOTAs continuing education program and products. She has been instrumental in the development and growth of the association’s digital badging program and in re-envisioning continuing education as a cost efficient and learner focused member value.

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      Diane Elkins

      Diane Elkins is the co-owner of Artisan E-Learning, a custom e-learning development company specializing in Articulate Studio, Storyline, Lectora, and Captivate. She has built a reputation as a national e-learning expert by being a frequent speaker at major industry events such as ATD ICE, ATD TechKnowledge, DevLearn, and Learning Solutions. She is also the co-author of the popular E-Learning Uncovered book series as well as E-Learning Fundamentals: A Practical Guide from ATD Press. She is a past president of the Northeast Florida and Metro DC chapters of ATD.

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      Sara Meier, MS.Ed, CAE

      Sara Meier joined MCI USA in 2006 with a background in program management, nonprofit resource and strategic plan development and serves as the Senior Vice President of Credentialing & Learning Solutions. In this capacity, Sara works with organizations to determine performance objectives for learning management systems and credentialing programs and assess how structure, content, delivery and metrics can align with company objectives. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Rochester and received her graduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She obtained the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) in 2009. An active member of ASAE, she is currently the Chair of the AMC Section Council.

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      Greg A. Wilder

      Greg Wilder is the Chief Operating Officer of The Georgia Society of CPAs. Greg graduated from The Ohio State University with a BA in political science and history. Before joining GSCPA, he was the senior manager of member relations at the Ohio Society of CPAs for over 4 years. Greg joined the Georgia Society of CPAs in 2011. Greg currently resides in Cumming, GA with his wife, Julie, and two young sons.

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      Christopher Urena, CAE

      Chris Urena, MBA, CAE serves as director of professional development for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). He has a knack for applying business frameworks and data-driven methodologies to association programs, including continuing education, to deliver meaningful offerings to members, while simultaneously adding value to the association and profession. Outside the office Chris enjoys traveling and running his local trails in Rock Creek Park (Washington, DC).

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      Alice K. Waagen, Ph.D.

      Alice Waagen, PhD is president of Workforce Learning LLC, a management consulting company that provides business leaders with the skills and knowledge they need to build organizations that are productive and healthy. Dr. Waagen is passionate about helping her corporate clients and the missions that they serve. She strives to make every engagement produce tangible value by helping business executives discover better, faster and more efficient ways to lead their workforces to achieve mission. Her common sense approach to solving managerial and leadership challenges can be found in her weekly column in the American Cities Business Journal ( ) as well as in her articles and newsletters posted on her website,

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      Tracy King, MA, CAE

      As Chief Learning Strategist & CEO of InspirEd, Tracy King leverages her more than 20 years in the industry consulting with organizations on education strategy and learning design. Tracy is the author of Competitive Advantage, and she advises associations on how to grow a reliably profitable and sustainable CE business that transforms learners. Tracy specializes in the intersection of learning science and technology. She's a thought leader, invited speaker, master learning designer and DELP Scholar. For more information please visit her online at or

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      Sylvia Long-Tolbert

      Sylvia Long-Tolbert is the vision and voice of Know More Marketing. Rarely do you find an experienced marketing advisor who combines the latest in marketing thought with a real-world understanding of what it takes to build successful brands and customer relationships. Sylvia brings an invigorating mix of innovative and pragmatic ideas to address challenges that require a fresh perspective and empathic solutions. She founded Know More Marketing to share her expertise in customer relationships, brand management, services marketing, and customer behavior in a way that changes how clients think about the customer and how they leverage data and customer intelligence to influence marketing strategy. In addition to her experience as a faculty member with the Carey Business School at Johns Hopkins University, Sylvia has held numerous management positions in the secondary mortgage market, health insurance, property and casualty insurance, electric utility and retailing sectors. She earned a Ph.D. and M.A.B.A. in marketing (minor in social and cognitive psychology) from The Ohio State University, an MBA in marketing from George Washington University, and a BBA in marketing from Howard University.

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      Nanette Miner

      Dr. Nanette Miner is a leadership development and workplace learning strategy consultant. She is the founder of, and Managing Consultant for, The Training Doctor; a South Carolina-based consulting firm that helps its clients to prepare today, for the organizational leadership they will need tomorrow. Clients appreciate her skill at asking relevant, timely, and often challenging questions that stimulate new thinking and help organizations to prepare for the future of work. Her focus on business goals, integrated with sound principles of adult learning, results in enhanced organizational effectiveness and astounding return on investment.

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      Michelle Brien

      Michelle Brien is Vice President of Marketing and Product Strategy at WBT Systems. Michelle has a strong international background in education and technology. Her experience includes business development, partner management, and marketing for global digital educational publishers, universities, and cloud technology firms. Michelle’s focus at WBT Systems is to develop resources and content to educate and support associations in their use of technology to help drive growth, increase revenues, and enhance the learning experience for their education and certification programs.

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      Rebecca Campbell, CAE

      Rebecca Campbell is the CPE director of the Colorado Society of CPAs. Campbell attained this position in 1999, after gaining 10 years of experience through holding various positions within the CPE department. Campbell earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Denver and continues to seek continuing education opportunities for herself and her employees whenever possible. Campbell plays a key role in the development of the COCPA's AMS system, website creation, several society-based strategic plans, and the introduction of technology-based CPE formats. Campbell earned her Certified Association Executive designation in 2010. When not working, Campbell enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters. These activities include camping and watching Sunday football games.

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      Greg Roth, IOM

      Greg Roth is a keynote speaker and consultant. His practice, The Idea Enthusiast LLC, teaches creative inspiration, collaboration, and influence. His career includes experience in over 100 jobs, big and small, as a journalist, campaign director, speechwriter, show producer, performer, crayon maker, and mascot. Greg is a faculty member of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Organization Management, the chair of the Washington Speechwriters Roundtable, and has served as vice chair of education for the Communication Section Council at ASAE. He earned a B.A. in journalism, with a minor in coaching, from Millersville University of Pennsylvania.

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      Merle Schwartz

      Dr. Merle Schwartz serves as Vice President of Learning Experience Design for Six Red Marbles (SRM). Her role is to lead the vision and execution of learning experience design with responsibility for overall quality, rigor, and engagement of all learning experiences (including media rich designs and content) that SRM develops for clients. Merle’s career experience includes leading complex product, program, & project design, development, and production. Her expertise spans asynchronous & synchronous learning experience design, proposal & business development, budget, and resource management. Merle’s doctorate is in Adult and Organizational Learning and Change, with an extensive background from the world of education.

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      Linda Bowers

      Linda Bowers is Chief Technology Officer at WBT Systems, where she is responsible for all technical aspects of product planning, development, testing and delivery. WBT Systems develops the industry-leading TopClass LMS, independently named as the #1 Association Learning Management System in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Linda is a knowledgeable LMS Professional, combining strong experience in sales, implementation, support, and development with an executive perspective. Linda excels at solving clients’ exact business and education challenges.

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      Mette Baran

      Dr. Baran is an associate professor at Cardinal Stritch University teaching leadership, learning, and research methodology to graduate students. Her research focus is looping, classroom organization, student attitudes and motivation towards school, teacher preparedness and training, educational leadership, higher educational topics, international family politics, and school leadership in general utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. She is a founding member of an international research think tank (International School Leadership Network for High Needs Schools) comparing best practices on school leadership training across the globe. Dr. Baran is the author of three books, book chapters, and peer reviewed articles. In addition, she is a frequent presenter at both national and international conferences. She serves as a Board of Trustee for Robert Morris University since 2008 where she is the chair on the Experiential Learning Committee, and a Member of the Educational Committee and the Advancement and Fundraising Committee.

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      Kuheli Dutt

      Dr. Kuheli Dutt is the Assistant Director for Academic Affairs and Diversity at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO), Columbia University, and serves as Lamont’s Diversity Officer. Dr. Dutt leads diversity and inclusion efforts at Lamont and serves on several committees, including Lamont’s Executive Committee; Columbia University Senate Commission on the Status of Women; Task Force on Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging; and the International Advisory Board for Gender Equality, University of Southern Denmark. Dr. Dutt’s research interests lie in implicit bias, gender, and STEM diversity. A social scientist by training with a PhD in public policy, Dr. Dutt’s work has been covered by venues like: NPR Science Friday; Scientific American; Nature; Science; Huffington Post; Inside Higher Ed; Physics World; Ars Technica; Smithsonian; El Español; Time; Fortune; and others.

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      Submit all requests to ASAE Registration via email at [email protected] All registration cancellations and refund requests must be made in writing by January 23, 2019, to receive a full refund, less a $75 administrative fee. Refunds cannot be approved for requests received after this date, to include no-shows. Substitutions are gladly accepted at any time. Badge sharing, splitting, and reprints are strictly prohibited.

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