The annual ASTD International Conference took place in Denver last week. Without question, it is the world’s largest gathering of training professionals. Although cut short by an unexpected trip to an Emergency Room, I was in attendance for about the thirtieth time.

As a longtime participant at ASTD, I am aware of several changes taking place in our industry — most of which are very healthy for the future of training.

While fewer people attend ASTD than they did a couple of decades ago, the mix is changing. ASTD is becoming an international event in more than name only. Individuals are traveling from around the world to see for themselves the “latest and greatest” in new learning technology. Technology training, once regarded as a mostly American phenomenon, is now embraced throughout the world. And, at the risk of overreaching, I would suggest that it is because organizations are finally realizing that there is a genuine monetary payback in training investment.

The fact that there are fewer people attending is another changing dynamic. A couple of decades ago, training decisions were mostly made on an individual site basis but, today, most of those decisions are being made at the corporate level, resulting in fewer ASTD attendees but with more buying power represented. In other words, there are fewer tire-kickers walking the show floor these days. Today’s ASTD attendees have far greater say and thicker wallets than they had decades ago. Training investment has become integral to corporate growth and profitability.

And finally, those of you associated with process and manufacturing should be especially proud of your efforts to improve learning within your organizations. Industrial Skills Training, as witnessed at ASTD Denver, is moving up the ladder of relevance — and, that is the best news of all!

More on Thursday – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder, ITC Learning
www.itclearning.com/blog/ (Tuesdays & Thursdays)
e-Mail: bwalton@itclearning.com