The New 2020 ATD Capability Model: What’s changed? What’s still the same?

When ASTD (now ATD) rolled out its first competency model back in 2004, it gave the profession of training a unified, research-based guide to the skills and knowledge required in our field. The nine Areas of Expertise in the Model guided our MATD curriculum and ensured that we were teaching our students the “right stuff” needed for success in their jobs. In this post, we will revisit the Models of the past and compare them to the newest version.

The table below lists the Areas of Expertise/Professional Capabilities for each Model so you can compare the changes over time. Of note in the 2014 Model was the addition of a much-needed Learning Technologies competency. In the 2020 Model of significance is the name change from Competency to Capability, which “signals to talent development professionals that they must be agile and committed to continual development.” Also, several Areas of Expertise—performance improvement, talent management, training management, and change management—were moved to the Organizational Capability section of the new Model, leaving the Professional Capability section focused more directly on just the training function.

2004 Areas of Expertise

2014 Areas of Expertise

2020 Professional Capabilities

Designing Learning Instructional Design Instructional Design
Improving Human Performance Performance Improvement Moved to Organizational Section
Delivering Training Training Delivery Training Delivery & Facilitation
Measuring & Evaluating Evaluating Learning Impact Evaluating Impact
Facilitating Organizational Change Change Management Moved to Organizational Section
Managing the Learning Function Managing Learning Programs Moved to Organizational Section
Coaching Coaching Coaching
Managing Knowledge Knowledge Management Knowledge Management
Career Planning & Talent Management Integrated Talent Management Career & Leadership Development
Learning Technologies Technology Application
Learning Sciences

You may view the new Model here https://www.td.org/capability-model/access

Questions for Discussion:

What do you think of the change from competency to capability? Does this make sense to you? Why or why not?

What are your thoughts about the evolution of the various competencies/capabilities over the years (see table)? Is there anything you’d add or delete from the list of 2020 Professional Capabilities?

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