Which is the best professional body for Learning and Development professionals; both for now now and for the future?

Hi everyone,


Here we have a forum made up of thousands of exceptionally dedicated Learning and Development professionals; but which professional body do you think best represents our needs and can best promote our profession, both now and in the future?


We've already got a number of 'front runners' such as CIPD, IITT, BILD, ASTD and the E-Learning network (but to name a few).  But who do you think can best represent us now and drive our prosession in a positive way for the future?


This isn't a posting to enable you to 'slag off' organisations; it's an honest question to find our where we, as people who identify, develop and enable capability within our organisations should best align ourselves for the future.


I'd really welcome all your honest comments.


Thanks in advance.



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Hi Jonathan,

I'm not sure I can answer your question, except with another one: Do we need a professional organisation? And, if so, why would anyone pay to join it?

I'd be happy to pay for qualifications that had kudos in the industry - but membership? I'm not sure quite why.


In my view, the News of the World situation (and I recognise that it may be much wider than just NoW/ NI) highlights the need for professional standards. There is clear evidence that those standards were not upheld, at least by a number of journalists. A comparable failure of ethics and standards within L&D would be as unacceptable to us, as L&D Professionals, as it has been to other professional journalists who have maintained standards.


To be able to maintain standards among L&D Professionals we do need a professional body that sets those standards and, to whom we can turn to when we need third party support if there is a threat that standards are being compromised.


Self-regulation is fine; but as a community committed to mutual support, we are so much stronger.


Now I'll get off the soap-box! But before I do I have to stress that Jonathon's "which one" question is both relevant and appropriate.

I take your point Alan,

Standards only work though if the organisation setting them has a mandate to apply them and teeth to ensure compliance with the standards.

I can't see that in any of our current crop of professional organisations. Or have I missed something?


Hi Mark,


My reasoning for asking about a professional organisation is to provide guidance and services much along the lines that Alan mentioned.


Will the organisation have real 'teeth' as you suggest, then almost certainly not.  What such an organisation can do however is to represent our profession at the highest levels and ensure that we are not overlooked, but rather are given credit for the value we add.


You do raise a very good point which is about membership Vs. recognised qualifications.  Being a member of a group or organisation just for the heck of it adds little (if anything).  I agree that the professional organisation also needs to be an awarding body and one that is totally recognised within the L&D industry.


So, back to my original question; who do you think can best represent our profession going into the future?


Thanks for entering into the conversation and I hope that others will also share their thoughts.



I find ASTD amd CIPD too slow and old fashioned - much better with IITT and ELN - but not sure a professional organisation is needed at all in an age where self-regulation is gaining strength rather than just being a fashion

Hi Nick,


Sadly I'm not that knowledgeable about ASTD however as a long standing CIPD member I'm seeing them becoming more and more HR centric with every passing day.  This isn't a criticism it's my personal observation from looking at their strategic focus, literature, website and magazine.


Your point about self-regulation is well made however even within Self Regulating Organisations (SROs) there has to be some standard which is used as a measure or benchmark and this is one of the facilities that I believe a professional organisation should offer.


You also mention speed which in today's world is ever critical.  Liaising with and communicating with a professional body should (in my opinion) make every use possible of electronic communications and use the internet where it adds real value.  This I feel would allow a certain speed to be achieved.


Speed is also needed within a professional body to enable it to make real decisions - but fast.  If major global organisations can (and do) execute at speed then so should a professional body.  As an example I recently looked at upgrading to become a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD - what a mess!  The systems in place are so bad and so slow and (to be brutal) so non-customer friendly that I gave up.  I know the CIPD have really messed this up because only last week I received the longest electronic survey of my life getting to the bottom of the upgrade issues.  What I'm saying here is that all offerings should be clear, accessible and fast.


Thanks again for your input and please do add further thoughts.





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