A Recap of ASTD 2014 from Cammy Bean

At ASTD ICE this year in Washington, DC, the theme was change. Change, that one constant in the universe and even solid organizations like the American Society for Training and Development are not immune. Nor should they be.

The Big Thing from this year’s conference was the unveiling of ASTD’s new name and identity. Overnight, the overhead banners and kiosks and onsite branded all transformed from the familiar ASTD logo to the new ATD: Association of Talent Development (ATD). This shift represents the organization’s increasingly global focus and a move away from just training solutions to the overall development of organizations and the people who work in them. Find out more.

For this eLearning gal, I love going to ASTD ICE because it’s about so much more than eLearning. The expo floor is packed with leadership training companies, classroom trainers, and technology providers. You can find people hawking classroom tchotchkes, leadership development curriculums, consulting services, and technology solutions. The sessions range from strategies for classroom trainers, to developing global leaders, to ROI, to using an LMS, and to so much more. It’s a broad conference with lots of food for thought and plenty of opportunity to dive into areas outside of your comfort zone.

As one of the ASTD ICE Planning Committee members, I had the good fortune to be all over the place, with front row seats at three wildly different keynotes. Arianna Huffington kicked the show off on Monday, sharing her insights into success. (Her secret in a nutshell? Don’t get burned out and make sure you make time for yourself.)

Tuesday’s keynote was more controversial, with General McChrystal talking about empowering teams to make better decisions and avoiding silos—good stuff—all in the context of US military interventions in the Middle East.

Wednesday’s closing keynote left me truly inspired. Kevin Carroll encouraged us to play more, asking, “What’s your rubber ball? What’s your passion?”

For the Kineo team, we had a great show. Our expo booth was bustling with people checking out Adapt—the new open source responsive eLearning framework; Totara—the open source Learning Management Systems, and, of course, our custom eLearning solutions. With hundreds of exhibitors this year, it was a real privilege to have so many people stopping by to connect with us. So glad this year we got a padded carpet for the booth to ease our tired tootsies!

On a personal note, the conference was a really big deal for me as it was the first time I got to hold my new baby—The Accidental Instructional Designer: Learning Design for the Digital Age. Hot of the presses, copies had arrived at ASTD’s offices just days before the show opened. I was completely blown away when the bookstore sold out all of its copies! Thanks to everyone who bought a copy and stopped by for the book signing. You can order your copy through ATD or through Amazon.

I had a packed session where I presented on just this topic:

I also led a couple of speed mentoring sessions at the conference, focusing on enhancing one's instructional design expertise. The notion of the Accidental ID resonates with so many people out there who've fallen into this field completely by accident and are looking for ways to build a career with passion and intention. People had questions from what eLearning authoring tools to use to what books to read to whether or not they should get a degree. I loved having informal chats with people from such diverse backgrounds. 

As usual, I typed a lot of this conference and took notes on some of the sessions I was able to attend: 

Hope to see you all next year! 


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