Timeline of ASTD’s History

Timeline of ASTD’s History

Timeline of ASTD’s History


The American Society of Training Directors (ASTD) is formed on April 2, 1942, at a meeting of the American Petroleum Institute, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Fifteen training directors hold their first meeting on January 12, 1943, in Baton Rouge.



ASTD publishes the first issue of Industrial Training News, a quarterly publication that is eventually to become T+Dmagazine. ASTD also holds its first national conference, on September 27 and 28, in Chicago, Illinois.


Industrial Training News changes its name to Journal of Industrial Training and becomes a bimonthly periodical.


ASTD opens its first permanent office in Madison, Wisconsin, the hometown of Russell Moberly, the secretary-treasurer who keeps all the records at the time.


Membership reaches 1,517. There are 32 chapters across the country.


Journal of Industrial Training changes its name to The Journal of the American Society of Training Directors.


The Journal of the American Society of Training Directors publishes Donald L. Kirkpatrick’s article establishing four levels of evaluation for training: reaction, learning, behavior, and results.


ASTD begins publication of Training Research Abstracts, later incorporated into Training & Development Journal.


The Journal of the American Society of Training Directors changes its name to Training Directors Journal.


ASTD changes its name to the American Society for Training and Development.


Training Directors Journal changes its name to Training & Development Journal.


McGraw-Hill publishes the first edition of Training and Development Handbook.


Membership reaches 7,422. There are 65 chapters.


ASTD and the U.S. State Department sponsor the first international training and development conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Two hundred people from six continents attend.


ASTD opens a branch office in Washington, D.C.


ASTD holds White House Conference on HRD in the World of Work in Washington, D.C.


In Washington, D.C., ASTD hosts the seventh annual conference of the International Federation of Training and Development Organizations. Membership reaches 15,323; chapters number 110. Following ASTD’s efforts in Congress, the Employee Education Assistance IRS exemption is approved. ASTD publishes its first competency study, A Study of Professional Training and Development Roles and Competencies, by Pinto and Walker.


ASTD elects its first woman volunteer president, Jan Margolis.


Kenneth James Kukla becomes the 20,000th member of ASTD.


ASTD moves its headquarters from Madison, Wisconsin, to Washington, D.C.


ASTD publishes its second competency study, Models for Excellence, by Patricia McLagan.


ASTD implements a new governance structure, resulting in a new leadership direction for the Board of Directors and the creation of a Board of Governors to look to the future. ASTD also launches INFO-LINE, a monthly publication designed to train the trainer in a broad array of topics.


ASTD establishes a research function and receives a $750,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Research grants will reach almost $3 million by 1993. ASTD launches its second annual conference: National Conference on Technical and Skills Training.


Membership reaches 24,451. There are 153 chapters.


ASTD publishes its third competency model, Models for HRD Practice, by Patricia McLagan.


ASTD and the U.S. Department of Labor publish The Learning Enterprise by Anthony P. Carnevale and Leila J. Gainer, as well as the more comprehensive Training in America: The Organization and the Strategic Role of Training by Carnevale, Gainer, and Janice Villet. Both publications establish the size and scope of the training enterprise in the United States. ASTD also launches a new magazine, Technical & Skills Training.


ASTD publishes America and the New Economy by ASTD’s chief economist, Anthony P. Carnevale, establishing the economic link between learning and performance. Training & Development Journal becomes Training & Development. The Benchmarking Forum is launched to benchmark learning and performance improvement processes, practices, and outcomes against the accomplishments of Forum members and to engage a worldwide network of high-level professionals and organizations.


ASTD launches ASTD On-Line, an electronic information access service, and turns up on the Internet, where trainers are discussing the formation of a “cyberchapter” of ASTD. In addition, ASTD holds its 50th annual and first international conference in Anaheim, California.


ASTD publishes its fourth competency study, ASTD Models for Human Performance Improvement, by William Rothwell.


ASTD publishes its fifth competency model, ASTD Models for Learning Technologies, by George Piskurich and Ethan Sanders. The first Excellence in Practice Awards are given to recognize results achieved through the use of practices from the entire scope of workplace learning and performance. The first certificate program in human performance improvement is held. By 2007, ASTD offers 25 certificates. ASTD publishes the first annual State of the Industry report.


ASTD publishes its sixth competency model, ASTD Models for Workplace Learning and Performance, by William Rothwell, Ethan Sanders, and Jeffery Soper. ASTD holds its first annual ASTD TechKnowledge Conference.


ASTD starts a program to build a global community of practice, combined with local presence and action. By 2007, ASTD has 25 global networks. ASTD also launches its first online magazine, Learning Circuits, which covers topics related to e-learning.


The ASTD Job Bank—a job site exclusively for workplace learning professionals—is launched. Training & Developmentmagazine changes its name to T+D. The ASTD Certification Institute is established to govern certification and will launch certification for e-learning courseware in 2002.


The first annual BEST Awards are held to recognize organizations that demonstrate enterprisewide success as a result of employee learning and development.


ASTD publishes its seventh competency model, ASTD 2004 Competency Study: Mapping the Future, by Paul Bernthal and others. This model forms the basis for certification.


ASTD introduces Employee Learning Week, a global public awareness campaign to promote and celebrate the value of workplace learning and development.


The ASTD Certification Institute formally launches its individual certification program, Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP).


The WLP Scorecard debuts as an online decision support tool that allows organizations to monitor, evaluate, and benchmark critical areas of the learning function.


ASTD publishes the first edition of the ASTD Handbook for Workplace Learning Professionals. The Learning Executive Confidence Index launches; it is a tool to measure the confidence of senior learning leaders and is modeled on CEO confidence indices used by The Conference Board and Chief Executive Magazine.


ASTD acquires The Bureaucrat, Inc. and its quarterly journal The Public Manager, bringing ASTD’s expertise to the public sector. ASTD publishes its first competency model for sales training, further strengthening the association’s commitment to sales training effectiveness.


The New Social Learning is the landmark book by ASTD CEO Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner that identifies the critical importance of using social tools for training and development.


ASTD hosts first conference in Singapore with Singapore Training and Development Association (STADA), and launches new conference offering called LearnNow, focused on meeting the needs of practitioners focused on social, mobile, and informal learning.


ASTD launches its Communities of Practice—networks of professionals with shared interests, knowledge, and expertise—through its new website.


ASTD’s new Competency Model is unveiled, adding focus on foundational competencies and technology literacy; the ASTD Learning System is revised to reflect the changes in the new Competency Model.


ASTD launches new membership options reflecting more individual choice in selecting benefits. The new tiers are called Professional and Professional Plus. The second edition of the ASTD Handbook debuts at the ASTD 2014 International Conference & Exposition.

Another sign that the training profession was beginning to broaden its horizons at this time was the adoption of organization development (OD). According to the Organization Development Network, a professional organization for OD practitioners, “Organization Development is a values-based approach to systems change in organizations and communities; it strives to build the capacity to achieve and sustain a new desired state that benefits the organization or community and the world around them.” Its roots lie in the behavioral sciences, using theories about organization change, systems, teams, and individuals based on the work of Kurt Lewin, Douglas McGregor, Rensis Likert, Richard Beckhard, Wilfred Bion, Ed Schein, Warren Bennis, and Chris Argyris (Haneberg, 2005). For more on OD, see the sidebar.

The wider focus on business results also related to the emerging field of human performance improvement (HPI) or human performance technology (HPT). Performance improvement is a systematic, systemic, results-based approach to helping organizations meet their goals through the work of people. The work of Thomas Gilbert, Geary Rummler, Donald Tosti, and Dale Brethower moved the field of workplace learning from a singular focus on training to a wide variety of activities that improve business results.

However, the general attitude toward business remained “let the adding-machine jockeys worry about the business.” More popular were topics such as the psychology of influence, motivation, and attitude change. Topics related to the emerging American civil rights movement, such as workplace diversity, were also becoming more common.

In the areas of learning theory and design, the 1960s saw Jean Piaget, a Swiss developmental psychologist, create a model of cognitive development with four stages: the sensorimotor stage (birth to two years), the preoperational stage (ages two to seven), the concrete operational stage (ages seven to 11), and the formal operational stage (ages 11 and up). His theories form the foundation for the development of constructivism, which began to appear in the 1970s and 1980s.

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