More than 8,500 people attended the recent ASTD 2011 International Conference & Exposition, held in Orlando, FL, May 22-25. The conference drew more than 2,100 attendees from outside the United States representing 81 countries, the largest number of international participants in recent years.

ASTD 2011 featured keynote speakers focused on leadership. Best-selling author Marcus Buckingham debuted a new book and strengths assessment tool called Stand Out. Campbell Soup Company CEO Doug Conant and leadership development expert Mette Norgaard, and former Blue Angels lead solo pilot John Foley brought their own perspectives to the topic. The need for leadership development, succession planning, and talent management are important issues for the workplace learning profession.

Mobile learning was the focus of the presentation by ASTD President and CEO Tony Bingham. Bingham told attendees, "Mobile learning is the latest emerging trend in our use of technology for learning. Gartner reports that worldwide sales of tablets will jump from 19.5 million units in 2010 to 208 million units in 2014. Research from the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) indicates that organizations' use of mobile learning had one of the highest correlations with market performance and the highest correlation with effective instructional design. Those are very compelling reasons to incorporate mobile as part of a learning strategy."

Supporting the value of mobile technology for learning and professional development, ASTD introduced an app for attendees that allowed them to build their conference schedule, access educational materials, post and read Twitter updates, map the conference floor, take notes, and much more. The app was featured in an article in the New York Times.

Don Kirkpatrick, the creator of the Kirkpatrick Model of training evaluation, was specially recognized for his contributions to the profession. Kirkpatrick, who is retiring, delivered his last educational session to a standing-room-only crowd.

Highlights from the conference include

  • Total attendance: 8,500+
  • International attendance: 2,100+
  • Number of countries represented: 81
  • Attendance from the top five countries outside of the U.S.: Korea, Canada, Brazil, China, Japan
  • More than 700 people attended pre-conference workshops and certificate programs
  • 260 education sessions
  • 376 speakers from 27 countries
  • More than 50,000 square feet of exhibit space featuring nearly 350 vendors

Annually, the ASTD International Conference & Exposition is the world's largest gathering of training and development professionals. The ASTD 2012 conference will be held in Denver, Colorado May 6-9.