May 27, 2015

Last week I attended the “2015 ATD Convention & EXPO” in Orlando. This annual conference used to be known as ASTD (Association of Training & Development) but in 2014 changed its name to the Association of Talent Development.

Why the name change?

I’m not sure. They claim that with this name-change, “This organization is changing to reflect the work you do and will do, and becoming even more inclusive for everyone who develops others.”

Oh, well. Doesn’t matter, I suppose.

But, in some ways the word “Training” has been deemphasized and, for me, that is not a step forward. Education and Training have always been the heart of learning.

And, while it reflects my age, “talent” has always been a unique trait that the gene pool gave each one of us.

Most importantly, the annual conference and EXPO is the largest gathering of training professionals in the world. And, has grown globally — so much so, that this year nearly 30% of the attendees came from outside the USA.

The reason is simple. Today, the values inherent in well-conceived training programs are respected around the globe.

As more and more jobs and growth become “local” in nature, so do the needs for skills learning accelerate. No longer are regions isolated from opportunity. And, the worldwide web has truly allowed us to create an international community of learning.

It used to be that attendees at these conferences were mostly tire-kickers with a lot of wish lists but no budgets. Many of them were only interested in looking at do-it-yourself products so that they could create their own solutions.

But, the do-it-yourself crowd could not “do it” because training takes deep understanding of both learning principles and the appropriate delivery technologies necessary to communicate effectively in the learning culture that is prevalent today.

And, that means video, graphic animations, gaming and simulations.

In fact, the do-it-yourselfers with their repurposed PowerPoints have given today’s e-Learning a bad name.

I could have told them that reading-based programs are not where it’s at today. People want to learn — but they do it best when they control their own learning paths and when the material comes to them in a video, gaming or simulation package.

A final observation. EXPO traffic was down this year due to the venue. Las Vegas and Orlando always bring a reduced traffic situation to the EXPO floor. I’m sure you know why!

Regardless, I hope you can make plans to attend next year’s conference in Denver. It’s the one event each year where you can see everything under one roof plus attend many stimulating conference meetings that relate to your own situation and your interests.

More on Monday – – –

— Bill Walton, co-Founder
ITC Learning (Mondays & Wednesdays)