ASTD Becomes Association for Talent Development (ATD)

You might have noticed that ASTD has a new name and a new brand. The American Society for Training and Development made the change this past May becoming the Association for Talent Development.

President and CEO Tony Bingham announced the change at the organization’s international conference this past Spring stating, “Your work is so much broader than training alone.” He cited the growing references in business to the term “talent development” that describes the breadth of work done by professionals who develop the talent in organizations: their knowledge, skills, and abilities.

This change is much-needed and seems welcomed by the ASTD/ATD Community. Many in the learning and development community had already made the switch to moving from the word “training” to the word “learning.” This name change for ASTD takes semantics a step further by emphasizing the outcome–talent development. After all, what is the result of learning?

Along with the new name comes a new logo and anyone whose been through rebranding efforts can tell you nightmare stories about branding gone wrong. I must say I love the new logo for ATD.

In the ASTD logo it looks as if the trainer is holding the weight of the world which unfortunately parallels the reality for many trainers. There’s also no description of what ASTD stands for. I can’t tell you how many times I told someone, “I’m going to an ASTD meeting” only to be met with a look of shock and/or confusion as what was heard was, “I’m going to an STD meeting.” They’re not the same!

The new logo takes care of this by clearly stating what ATD stands for. The colors are bold and eye-catching. The T looks as if it is reaching across with its arms to the A and the D saying, “Don’t worry. I’m here to help!”

Are you a member of ASTD/ATD? What are your thoughts on the change?

Making Learning Fun, Zombie Style

If you missed out on being selected for the Hyperlinked Library MOOC with Michael Stephens, here’s an alternative. At first I thought this was a joke–a MOOC about zombies. But it’s real and even has course objectives listed! If you look at the objectives you’ll see that this class is not about zombies at all. They are teaching real stuff about public health, survival, and disease. Who in their right mind would take a course billed as: Infectious Disease and Public Health. Not many. However thousands are registering for this class based on the title and premise–you can make learning about infections diseases fun.

Is there a way you can apply this idea to your training? Absolutely! There are great films with good and bad examples of customer service. Clerks is the first that comes to mind. When we put ourselves in the role as the learner and think about how we would like to experience learning, we can find ways to make learning engaging and fun. No doubt this course will boost the ratings of The Walking Dead, but it’s a great example of adding a creative twist to what could be a boring subject. Let me know if you enroll. I’d love to have a trainers discussion group to talk about what we learn from the actual class as a trainer.

Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s The Walking Dead

Course description

From understanding social identities to modeling the spread of disease, this eight-week course will span key science and survival themes using AMC’s The Walking Dead as its basis. Four faculty members from the University of California, Irvine will take you on an inter-disciplinary academic journey deep into the world of AMC’s The Walking Dead, exploring the following topics:

  •  Maslow’s hierarchy of needs—is survival just about being alive?
  • Social order and structures—from the farm and the prison to Woodbury
  • Social identity, roles, and stereotyping—as shown through leaders like Rick and the Governor
  • The role of public health in society—from the CDC to local community organizations
  • The spread of infectious disease and population modeling—swarm!
  • The role of energy and momentum in damage control—how can you best protect yourself?
  • Nutrition in a post-apocalyptic world—are squirrels really good for you?
  • Managing stress in disaster situations—what’s the long-term effect of always sleeping with one eye open?

Each week we’ll watch engaging lectures, listen to expert interviews, watch exclusive interviews with cast members talking about their characters, use key scenes from the show to illustrate course learning, read interesting articles, review academic resources, participate in large and small group discussions, and—of course—test our learning with quizzes. We recommend that you plan on spending about two (2) to four (4) hours per week on this course, though we believe the course is compelling enough you’ll want to spend more time.

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe how infectious diseases—like a zombie epidemic—spread and are managed
  • Apply various models of society and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to existing and emerging societies as a means for understanding human behavior
  • Analyze existing social roles and stereotypes as they exist today and in an emerging world
  • Debate the role of public health organizations in society
  • Describe how mathematical equations for population dynamics can be used to study disease spread and interventions
  • Apply concepts of energy and momentum appropriately when analyzing collisions and other activities that either inflict or prevent damage
  • Summarize multiple methods for managing stress in disaster situations

To register go to:

Top Young Trainer Nominations Being Accepted

From Training Magazine:

Do you know an up-and-coming training leader age 40 or under? Someone who stands out from the crowd? Someone who is an outstanding training professional with excellent leadership qualities? Someone who deserves recognition for his or her outstanding efforts in the training industry?

Please nominate him or her for Training magazine’s 2011 TOP YOUNG TRAINER AWARDS.

Nominations are due JANUARY 10, 2011.

Nominating is easy—just fill out the form below and e-mail it and your nominee’s resume back to Editor-in-Chief Lorri Freifeld at Please note we will not accept any self-nominations. Submissions will be reviewed by Training’s Editorial Advisory Board. The list of all winners will be published in the May 2011 issue of the magazine, along with extended profiles of the Top 10. The Top 10 will be invited to serve on Training’s 2011 Editorial Advisory Board beginning in June. The 2010 Top 10 Young Trainers are not eligible to be nominated for 2011, but the other 30 winners and those on the Trainers to Watch list can be nominated as long as they have overcome new training challenges or developed new training initiatives within the last year.

These awards are designed to highlight emerging young leaders in the training industry and give them the well-deserved opportunity to be recognized.

Nomination Criteria:

  • 40 years or younger by December 2010
  • in the training industry for at least 3 years
  • has at least 3 direct reports OR has orchestrated a large-scale training/learning and development initiative requiring management/leadership of a group of people within the last year
  • demonstrates leadership qualities (i.e., motivates/inspires direct reports and co-workers; acts as mentor/coach, either formally or informally; thinks strategically)
  • develops/leads innovative training initiatives
  • successfully met a significant training challenge in the last year
  • demonstrates career progression by taking on new responsibilities each year
  • In short, this is a person you would want on board in a training capacity at your organization.

To nominate your Top Young trainer for 2011, download and complete the nomination form. Save it and sent it as an email attachment to:

Five Things I Learned in 2010

Inspired by other posts throughout the biblioblogosphere, I thought some of our authors could share what they’ve learned in 2010.

For me, this year has been about overcoming obstacles and adapting to change. What I’ve learned:

  1. We, humans, are meant to adapt. Thing big picture. We’ve adapted to global climate changes, changes from food gathering to agriculture. Change is hard. But you know what’s worse? Being obsolete. We have so many exciting things happening with e-books, e-learning, digital content, freedom of information–libraries are perfectly poised to embrace these technologies and become more than just a place to check out books.
  2. There is always a silver lining. Granted it may be hard to see the silver lining in the midst of the storm but just wait. Right before the rainbow appears you’ll see the glorious silver lining. I can’t tell you how many times I have wanted something, not gotten it, and then six months later realized how lucky I was to have not gotten what I wanted. Sometimes a better opportunity comes along or sometimes you realize what you wanted is not really what it appeared. Trust fate.
  3. Look for alternative solutions. If there is a program or initiative you feel passionate about and someone stomps on your idea, don’t give up. It could be as simple as reframing the idea or even changing the name of the program. Remember that it’s the end result that matters not how you get there.
  4. Focus on outcomes not tasks. Tasks are things that anyone can do. Outcomes directly support your organization’s mission and strategy. Outcomes should be where you focus your time and energy. Yes you still have to check your email and do mundane data entry but find ways to speed up, delegate, or eliminate time-vampires so you can spend the majority of your time on outcome related tasks
  5. Professionalism never goes out of style. As a trainer, learning facilitator, whatever you want to call it, we have the ability to influence others in our organizations. We generally interact with more staff than anyone else in the organization (except maybe IT). Use your power and influence to have a positive effect on the organization. Set the bar high. Don’t gossip or “roll around in the mud with staff” as one of my friends calls it. Don’t speculate on things that you don’t know about. Be honest. Be kind.

So readers, what have you learned this year? Feel free to comment or if you would like to submit a guest post please email me at

On behalf of the Learning Round Table, we wish all our readers a safe and happy holiday season!

Learning at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library

Learning at the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library has changed a great deal since I began working there 11 years ago when most training consisted of courses such as how to use Microsoft Office and how to search online resources and databases. In 2005 I moved from a busy regional branch library to the Human Resources department and created the Library’s Core Competencies program and then in 2006 I worked with Helene Blowers on our Learning 2.0/23 Things Program. Once those programs were complete we received less requests for computer training and more requests for soft skills training such as customer service and communication skills.

Why the change? I think our staff are more tech-savvy and willing to try new things and at the same time technology has evolved to become more intuitive for the end-users.

In 2009 we created a Learning Council comprised of about 10 staff members from all facets of the library. We have a person from technical services, IT, children’s services, adult services, and outreach on the team. There are also staff members from large branches as well as small. We’ve tried to have representation from all parts of the library. Once a year the Learning Council meets to discuss training for the next year. We discuss what’s working well, what’s not working well, what skills are staff lacking, what new products might staff need training in. I also meet with a random sampling of managers to ask the same questions.

Last year I took the time to go through the Library’s strategic plan and define competencies that support that plan. Then I focused training on supporting each of those competencies. You can take a look at the complete curriculum here. The courses for that program were conducted by subject matter experts within the library. We have a separate training curriculum for managers and supervisors that is administered by another member of our HR staff.

This year we face new challenges of reduced staff (from more than 600 to about 300) and reduced hours at all of our locations. The workload for our front line staff has not decreased though. If anything our libraries are busier than ever since the unemployment rate in the area hovers around 10%. This makes it difficult for staff to find time to leave their libraries to attend training.

We’ve been making plans to introduce online learning to our staff for the past two years. It took some time to get the infrastructure in place to do this (you need lots of bandwidth!). I knew what kind of solution we needed or at least what I dreamed of!

We use PeopleSoft for all of our HR functions such as payroll and training registration and record-keeping. I wanted a system where I could create content, then publish the content as courses for our staff to take at their convenience, then have the training records automatically updated in PeopleSoft when the training is complete. I knew this solution would be expensive so I posted this on my local ASTD email list to see what recommendations others might have. Dick Handshaw, president of Handshaw, Inc. contacted me to discuss my needs further, then donated hosting of the learning content management system Lumenix to the Library. You can read more about the LCMS in the April 2010 issue of Computers in Libraries. Look for the article When the Going Gets Tough, the Staff Needs More Training. Below you can see a preview of the course software and a demo course.

The hope is with self-paced learning modules, our staff can complete courses at their own pace and convenience. They will not have to sign up for a course months away and travel to a training site. Instead we can provide solutions for learning on demand. When you need the training it’s there and available to you.

Realizing that self-paced training takes a lot of up front time to develop we are also implementing WebEx for live, online or synchronous learning. WebEx will allow staff to attend training, remotely from any location with Internet access. There are a number of similar Web conferencing platforms available.

Because synchronous learning courses can be developed more quickly then self-paced courses, we’ll be able to get more courses out quickly to our staff. However keep in mind that synchronous learning is not the same thing as a webinar. Synchronous learning courses are limited to a small number of individuals and are highly interactive. If you want to become an expert online trainer look no further than InSync Training and their Synchronous Learning Expert certification.

Our plan is over time to have most of our training available online with supplemental face-to-face sessions offered with more hand-on activities. None of this would be possible without the great team of staff we have who provide content for me to put into the online courses. Training, learning, whatever you want to call it, is definitely a team effort. I work with an amazing staff who always find ways to share the information they’ve learned with other staff.