ASTD Observations

Back from the “ASTD 2010 Conference and Exposition” held earlier this week in Chicago. A very successful event in one of the most beautiful cities in our country. Except for the Winter months, it’s really hard to match Chicago’s beauty, cleanliness and cultural/sporting/entertainment choices. “My kind of town . . .!”

While I do not know the exact numbers, this year’s exposition seemed much larger than normal with more visitors, including a large number representing the international community.

ASTD remains primarily an HR show with lots of “do it yourself” offerings. In terms of the industrial skills training representation, it seems pretty clear to me that the segment is consolidating and fewer, but stronger, companies remain.

E-Learning is dominant – so dominant, in fact, that Videos and CD-ROMs have almost disappeared from the show floor.

This show, so long dominated by LMS offerings had very few to offer this year. In my opinion, the LMS market peaked several years ago along with the VC backing of those firms. They are definitely not the player they used to be.

You won’t find any generic compressed video e-Learning offerings either – simply because the bandwidth issue remains a challenge for the majority of American manufacturers and process industries. Compressed video is primarily offered as a custom choice today and, only for those firms who have the necessary bandwidth available.

The promise of simulation training remains just that – a promise. The ultimate customer acceptance is still in the future.

All in all, a very good show this year. I hope you will make plans to attend a SALT Conference (August in DC or February 2011 in Orlando) or the next ASTD conference in Orlando next year. Either would be worth your time.

More on Tuesday – – – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning