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Training industry observations

I just got back from the International ASTD conference (that is, American Society for Training and Development) in Orlando FL, where I had the pleasure of meeting hundreds of Trainers Warehouse enthusiasts and introducing myself to hundreds more who were unfamiliar with our organization. I was thrilled with the energy and excitement that folks expressed in having a “toy store for trainers” — a place they could go for great products that make their training more innovative, more fun, and therefore more effective. THANK YOU to everyone who made those many hours of standing up move quite quickly.

For those who didn’t have an opportunity to visit, let me share some broad-sweep observations of the conference, from the humble view of booth 823:

1) Go Leadership!

Leadership training is a hot button right now. Both the learning sessions and the EXPO hall featured numerous talks and vendors focusing on leadership development. Even the trainer who happened to be sitting next to me on the flight from Boston to Orlando was interested in the best methods to train their leaders.

2) Online everything

I couldn’t count the number of online training vendors exhibiting at the expo.  If you were looking for the best tools to create online learning, you found them at almost every corner. For many, the challenge was differentiating among them. My mnemonic, “Any Goofball Can Learn,” helped me understand the offerings as A-authoring tools; G-games and add-ons; C-communication and connectivity; and L-LMSs.

Beyond those software solutions, were mobile apps and consultants who could take e-learning a step further.

3) Are they getting it?

As we continue to embrace the technology, which was ever so present at the conference, this top-of-mind question remains: will our training affect behavior change?

What’s next?

While we felt pleased to be in a unique niche (not offering leadership or online training expertise), it made us consider the future of training. What do the industry changes suggest? Will organizations continue to invest in live classroom training only for their leaders? Will all other training migrate to e-learning or mobile learning? Or, will there be a backlash and reversal to more live training?

My prediction (or maybe it’s a hope)  is that we will become less obsessed with the medium and more focused on the overall goals and objectives of training. In time, training delivery methods will be selected because they are the most effective for a given topic, not solely because they are new and available.

Please share your thoughts!

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