ATD Research Topics

ATD Research Reports provide organizations with indispensable information, metrics, survey data, and benchmarks they need for optimal workplace performance. 


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June 2017
(Corresponding Webcast to follow) – SOLD
Culture, Talent Development, and Organizational Change
Shifting markets and business imperatives prompt many organizations to undergo major changes that affect job roles, employment status, and other talent-related factors. Expansion (local, regional, or global), mergers and acquisitions, and workforce downsizing are common drivers of transformation. Amid those or other significant changes, how do organizations ensure their cultures remain intact and strong? Or, when necessary, how do they modify their cultures—in part or entirely? How is learning, as an aspect of culture, affected? And what role does talent development play in defining, influencing, and facilitating culture retention or change?
July 2017
(Corresponding Webcast to follow) — SOLD
Learning and Onboarding, Engagement and Development
What is role of the talent development function in employee onboarding, engagement, and development? Also, how is this role evolving and what will it look like in the future? The report will also look at specific actions and contributions talent development functions can take within the broader areas of onboarding, engagement, and development in order to “make work better” and drive results such as better performance, engagement, productivity, and retention. It will also provide examples of companies that have launched onboarding, engagement, and development programs with measurable success.
September 2017
(Corresponding Webcast to follow)
The Science of Learning and Talent Development
The science of learning has become an increasingly popular topic of research and essentially refers to the area of cognitive science devoted to understanding how students—or in this case, employees—learn and create lasting memories that they can recall later when performing their jobs. This research aims to develop a science of learning framework and will explore how the science of learning is used in talent development. Specifically, this research will uncover how talent development professionals are utilizing fundamental science of learning concepts when designing and delivering learning programs, such as interleaving, cognitive load, and spacing. How important is it for talent development professionals to understand these knowledge areas today? Moreover, how important do they believe understanding these concepts will be in the future? The report will survey a broad range of talent development professionals, including leaders and instructional designers, from all industries.
September 2017
(Corresponding Webcast to follow) – SOLD
Skills and Strategies for Next-Generation E-Learning
Given the popularity of self-paced e-learning, the report will explore the following questions:
• Are reductions in instructor-led training and increasing focus on employee-guided development affecting the design and delivery of e-learning?
• What does the next generation of e-learning look like?
• Which content areas will e-learning focus on?
• What instructional design tools are important, and how do trends (such as curation, blended learning, and personalized learning) impact e-learning design?
November 2017
(Corresponding Webcast to follow) – SOLD
Why Mentoring Matters: Talent Development Through Formal Mentoring Programs
This research explores how talent development functions can launch, design, and implement formal mentoring programs to develop their organization’s workforce and deliver improved employee engagement and individual performance. First, this report will establish the difference between mentoring and coaching programs as the two are commonly confused. Second, it will benchmark the use of formal mentoring programs across organizations. What role do talent development and learning departments typically play in mentoring programs? When is mentoring most effective in an employee’s career overall and with the organization? Who makes an effective mentor? What business results do effective mentoring programs create? What training and resources are provided to mentoring program participants? The research will also provide case studies and interviews from organizations that have successfully implemented formal mentoring programs. It will survey a broad range of talent development and human capital professionals across different industries.
November 2017
(Corresponding Webcast to follow)
Advancing Innovation: Strategies for Talent Development
Innovation—in products, services, work processes, management, and more—drives competitive advantages and business success. This study snapshots innovation effectiveness and organizations’ innovation priorities (new products/services, product improvements, new markets, changing business models, etc.). What critical roles does talent development play in improving innovation?

Specifically, some key areas that may be explored are: What are critical skills needed to ensure success at all stages of the innovating process from idea generation to launch and how can organizations develop these skills in employees? What types of formal programs, resources for employees, and culture elements drive innovation?
December 2017
(Corresponding Webcast to follow)
State of the Industry Report
ATD’s annual report is the definitive source for trends in workplace learning and development.
March 2018
(Corresponding Webcast to follow)
Adaptive and Personalized Learning
Adaptive learning uses a technology-based learning platform to craft personalized development by changing content presentation based on learners’ responses, behaviors, or performance. Other technologies offer personalization, too, by recommending courses, curricula, and career paths based on a learner’s history of experiences, preferences, and behaviors.

This research examines the use of adaptive learning to identify features associated with stronger learning and business performance. What elements do adaptive learning platforms change to fit learners, and which behavioral markers trigger those changes? How do learning analytics figure in the personalization process? Does adaptive learning raise issues? The research also explores other personalized learning options and their effects on business and learning results.