On Saturday, I will be flying to Dallas for the ASTD International Conference & Exposition (May 19-22). For more than fifty years ASTD has been hosting a conference and I can happily say that I’ve attended more than half of them.

This is, by far, the largest training event anywhere — with visitors from around the world. “ASTD 2013,” describes itself as “the premier event for workplace learning and development professionals, with more than 9,000 attendees from over 80 countries.”

In my opinion, the conference is the focus and the tradeshow, while large, is secondary. I also think that the conference fixates too strongly on HR issues and education theory — at the expense of practical application. The ASTD tradeshow, however, is the largest in the world and well worth your time to explore. Every significant training company (big and entrepreneurial) will be there.

You can see for yourself at

Two other groups hold yearly conferences that are also worth your attention.

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 small, 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 more than thirty years and have witnessed the early development of CBT, Interactive Laser Videodisc, CD-ROM, E-Learning, Gaming & Simulation, Mobile Computing, and Virtual Worlds. At the SALT Conferences, however, the Expo is secondary. The next SALT Conference will occur on August 14-16 in Reston, Virginia.

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 knowledge 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 find them at

TRAINING MAGAZINE sponsors its major event each year in February. Next year’s will be “Training 2014” and it will be held in San Diego, February 3-5. In my experience, their tradeshow is the feature of this event. The conference portion seems elementary — and, secondary to what you will find on the show floor. Their Expo, however, is always a good place to see the most current technology training solutions, as that is the major focus. You can get additional information at

And, if you do attend ASTD’s Conference next week, I hope you’ll take the time to stop by for a quick visit. I’ll be in Booth 861.

More on Tuesday – – –

— Bill Walton, Founder
ITC Learning (Tuesdays & Thursdays)