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The American Society for Training and Development – a profile


Ever wondered what the CIPD's equivalent might be across the pond? The American Society for Training and Development, or ASTD comes close - find out more about how ASTD works in our brief overview.

Founded in 1944, ASTD has 70,000 members from more than 15,000 organisations across-the-board - multinational corporations, medium-sized and small businesses, government, academia, consulting firms, and product and service suppliers. Not all of these are US-based - the association claims membership from 100 different countries.

ASTD undertakes workplace-based research, focusing on areas such as how training relates to financial performance, how to use training and education to recruit and retain employees and how technology affects the learning environment. There are also opportunities for benchmarking best practice through ASTD's Benchmarking Service.

To give an indication of the types of issues being addressed by US HRD professionals currently, ASTD identifies three significant changes:

  • The focus on human performance and the need to tie learning to business results;
  • The need to define and measure the critical link between learning and an organisation's business strategy;
  • The desire to boost the speed and efficacy of learning through technology
  • ASTD represents the field of workplace learning and performance to US federal and state policy makers through education, policy development, meetings and seminars, grassroots support and work in coalitions with other national organisations.

    To meet members' differing needs, ASTD has created services targeted to their specialised professional needs in training, performance improvement, organisational development, leadership, measurement and evaluation, e-learning, and consulting. E-learning is one of the top priorities at ASTD, which develops products and services to help members stay abreast of changes in this important part of their profession. These include Courseware Certification, Learning Circuits online magazine, E-learning books and software, an E-Learning Roadmap and ASTD TechKnowledge®, a conference and exposition devoted to e-learning and the use of technology in learning. Another priority is evaluation, and ASTD has introduced a certificated programme and ROI network.

    ASTD also offers a number of programmes that help members to demonstrate proficiency and to move forward in the profession. These include certificates in training and ROI and the rather loftily-named Certified Performance Technologist certificate. ASTD also runs an annual conference, a technology-specific conference and exhibition and plays host to a network of U.S. 'chapters', plus online discussion forums. Alliances with related organisations around the world create even wider networks.

    There is also a range of publications - books, the monthly T+D magazine, the online Learning Circuits, the ASTD Links e-newlsetter, research reports, the Info-line series among them.

    For more information, see the ASTD website at


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