With this year’s SALT Conference ready to get underway today, it got me thinking about the four significant conferences and/or trade shows that are held annually for the training community. Each has a primary focus and is well worth your examination. Listening to people who are doing things in training and walking a trade show floor to look at “the latest and greatest” has genuine value for you. If you haven’t attended at least one, you should make plans to do so in 2010.

TRAINING MAGAZINE sponsors a major event each year in February. Next year’s will be “Training 2010” and it will be held in San Diego. In my experience, their trade show is the feature of this event. For me, the conference part is always secondary to the showtraining-magazine1 floor. It’s a good place to see the most current technology training solutions, as that is the major focus. I’ve always enjoyed attending and exhibiting. You can get additional information at

ASTD (American Society for Training & Development) hosts an “International Conference & Exposition” each year. Chicago will be the host city in May, 2010. This is, by far, the largest training event, with visitors from around the world. The conference is the focus and the tradeshow, while large, is secondary. For me, the conference fixates too strongly on education theory at the expense of practical application. The ASTD trade show, however, is the largest in the country. I’ve been happily attending and exhibiting at ASTD conferences for almost three decades. astd1

ASTD (founded in 1943) describes itself as, “the world’s largest association dedicated to workplace learning and performance professionals. ASTD’s members come from more than 100 countries and connect locally in more than 130 U.S. chapters and with more than 30 international partners. Members work in thousands of organizations of all sizes, in government, as independent consultants, and suppliers.” You can visit them at

SALT (Society for Applied Learning Technology) holds two conferences each year: one in Orlando in February and the other in the DC area in August. While logo-saltsmall, these conferences have always introduced me to the future trends in training. Most of the attendees are serious developers with creative visions for the improvement of training outcomes. I’ve been many times rewarded by attending SALT Conferences for nearly thirty years and have witnessed the early development of CBT, Interactive Laser Videodisc, CD-ROM, E-Learning, Gaming & Simulation, Mobile Computing, and Virtual Worlds.

SALT describes itself as follows: “Founded in 1972, membership in the Society for Applied Learning Technology® is oriented to professionals whose work requires knowledge and communication in the field of instructional technology. . . . It enables one to achieve logo-salt1knowledge for work in the field of applied learning technology by association with other professionals in conferences sponsored by the Society.” For me, SALT is the place most of the serious players in the field of technology training go. You can examine their website at

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning