A Magazine Evolves as a Profession Evolves

The Association for Talent Development (ATD)’s publication, TD magazine, recently celebrated its 70th birthday.

But who knew that the publication had 6 previous names?

  • Industrial Training News
  • The Journal of Industrial Training
  • Journal of the American Society of Training Directors
  • Training Directors Journal
  • Training and Development Journal
  • T+D (Training and Development)
  • TD (Talent Development)

A recent article on the ATD website recounts how the name changes reflect the evolution in the training industry itself.  

That the first title of the publication was Industrial Training News makes sense, as post-war corporate America looked to the military for guidance on training employees in what were mostly industrial operations.  This led to the rise of training as a discipline, as even academic researchers discovered the merits of proven training principles.  

Indeed, the ADDIE model — Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, Evaluation — is still in use today by instructional designers and L&D leaders.

The most radical title change for the magazine was the last, to simply TD, removing the word training completely from the title, as the T stands for talent.

Actually, this comes as no surprise, and reflects an ever-changing organizational landscape.  Nowadays, not all of those involved with developing employee talent actually carry out training, and some companies do not perform training at all — yet they still encourage (and pay for) employees to grow professionally.

Indeed, according to the article, talent development professionals carry so many disparate titles today, with most of those titles highlighting the primary functions of talent development.  Here is a (partial) list:

  • Change management
  • Coaching
  • Compliance
  • Course design
  • Employee engagement
  • Evaluating learning impact
  • Executive development
  • Instructional design
  • Leadership development
  • Learning technologies
  • Managing learning programs
  • Needs assessment
  • Onboarding
  • Performance improvement
  • Performance management
  • Training delivery
  • Training management

Whew, that’s a lot.  And the list will continue to grow, as this function evolves.

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A Magazine Evolves as a Profession Evolves