You are here

Reflections and Updates from the Winter Certificate Program on GenAI and Experiential Learning

April 23, 2024

Author: Ian Nelson

PDC Trusted Advisor 

Co-Founder, Hotshot

First – a huge thank you

A few months ago, I was told that I had been selected to lead the PDC’s two-day winter
intensive certificate program. The topic I proposed was on experiential learning and
GenAI, with a focus on designing training programs to elevate lawyer skills in the GenAI

It was an honor to be selected, and I also took it as a huge responsibility. The PDC is a
group that took me in when I quit being a lawyer with a hope of getting into PD
somehow, and it’s made up of people I count as friends, mentors, and champions. It
was critical to me that I add value and do a good job for this organization that I love.

So, I did what any PDC’er would do – I leaned on the group for support and guidance,
and even to lend a helping hand in the program itself. And in the end, I believe we
pulled off a program that was fun, engaging, and helpful.

From the bottom of my heart – a huge thank you!

And an extra special thanks to the PDC’ers that helped me shape the program (even as
the program was happening!) and to those that co-presented with me – it wouldn’t have
been the same without you. I’m talking to you (among many others!) Allison Regan,
Josh Troy, Deepa Selvam, Larry Brown, Sarah Stein, Caitlin Vaughn, Matt Galando,
Lauren Hakala, Raya Connors, and of course a special thanks to Megan Lanham and
the PDC staff for all the behind-the-scenes work and support.

Post-Program Insights: Working with GenAI

In the weeks after the program and in speaking with so many people about it, what
struck me most was how adaptive, curious, and excited everyone was about the GenAI
elements of the program and about the possibilities of GenAI in PD in general. I have
even been asked to do mini versions of the program for PD teams, training committees,
and AI committees at several firms.

I heard from lots of people who opened up and acknowledged that they were a bit
worried about GenAI before the program but since the program their fears subsided a
bit and they even started playing with the technology in both their personal and
professional lives.

Of course, there is still a healthy dose of skepticism (as there should be), but the nature
of many conversations around GenAI and its role in PD has noticeably changed since
the program.

Through feedback gathered in emails, calls, and team meetings and presentations, here
are a few actual examples of ways in which the PDC community has been using GenAI
since the program (work and fun!) :


  •  Trip planning for family vacations
  •  Planning grocery shopping lists
  •  Recipe ideas
  •  Party planning (party ideas, invites, etc.)


  • L&D/PD team meetings to discuss use cases and do interactive demos of
  • ChatGPT (like we did at the program). This has been done internally and/or by
  • me and the Hotshot team (thank you for all the invitations to run these programs
  • (and if anyone else is interested just give me a shout).
  • Curriculum planning
  • Invitations to training programs
  • Discussing use cases with practice groups and training partners
  • And more!

Ideas from ChatGPT

Since this is about GenAI, I asked ChatGPT if it could suggest other uses. I uploaded
the bullets above into ChatGPT and asked for more ideas and here’s a bit of what it


  1. Fitness and Well-being: Customizing workout routines and mindfulness activities based on personal goals and preferences, with AI providing suggestions to enhance physical and mental health.
  2. Learning New Hobbies: Using GenAI to learn new skills like playing an instrument, painting, or a new language, with personalized lesson plans and progress tracking.
  3. Personal Finance Management: GenAI can analyze spending habits and provide advice on budgeting, saving, and investing.
  4. Book and Movie Recommendations: Based on personal tastes and previous likes, GenAI can recommend new books to read and movies to watch.


  1. Automated Follow-Ups and Reminders: After training sessions, use GenAI to send personalized follow-ups to attendees, offer additional resources, and remind them of upcoming sessions or action items.
  2. Career Development Pathways: Create interactive GenAI pathways that help professionals plan and visualize their career growth, including the necessary skills and milestones.
  3. Training Feedback and Evaluation: Implement AI-driven surveys and feedback tools to collect and analyze responses from training participants to continuously improve the content and delivery.
  4. Tailored Professional Challenges: Offer personalized challenges or exercises to professionals that align with their learning goals and areas for development which GenAI can help design and monitor.
  5. Leadership Coaching: Integrate GenAI into coaching programs, using natural language processing to offer real-time suggestions for communication improvement, leadership strategies, and conflict resolution.

Moving Forward on the GenAI Journey Together

As with all things PDC, the best way forward is together. So much is happening so
quickly, and I look forward to continuing to learn, experiment, and figure things out with
and from the PDC community.

And as we discussed during the program, these new tools are not replacements for
what we do. It’s critical that there’s a “human in the loop” and we bring our expertise,
oversight, and know how to GenAI and the work it produces.

However, GenAI is and can be an incredibly powerful new team member to supercharge
our work and help get further faster.

I am always available if anyone wants to discuss GenAI and how PD teams (and law
firms as a whole) can use GenAI. Also, I’d love to hear from anyone that’s willing to
share their own use cases. Successes, challenges, and all things in between – let’s talk!
I’m at

And for those that want to keep learning in the meantime, here are a few suggestions:

Thanks again and speak soon!