2018 Conference calendar for learning, performance & development professionals

2018 Conference calendar for learning, performance & development professionals

Welcome to 2018!

It’s that time of year when we reflect on the year that has just passed and look forward to the year to come.

Professionally, this means forming a PD plan for the next 12 months.  This year I wanted to try something new.  So, I asked the LinkedIn community what conferences they recommend in 2018, for those of us involved in adult learning, development, and performance.

In this post, I share a calendar of 2018 conferences recommended by the LinkedIn community.  These suggestions have helped me shape my thoughts about what I will do in 2018 to ensure I remain effective and current with my practice as an adult educator.  I hope you find them helpful, also.

Important notes
It is not my intention to promote any particular conference over another – I have simply passed on details of those conferences that were recommended to me and will let you make your own decisions about the best conference choice/s for you.  I hope you will use the comments box to contribute to this discussion – comment on the conferences suggested here, and/or add more conference suggestions.


Numerous months in 2018

SIETAR conferences

The Society for Intercultural Education Training and Research (SIETAR) has regional centres around the world.  Many regions run an annual conference.  Given the increasingly international and multicultural nature of training and education around the globe, I will keep an eye on SIETAR activities.

For more information about SIETAR, I think your best starting point is Wikipedia’s SIETAR page.  This page explains SIETAR and lists some its active regions.  For conference information, look for SIETAR region near you.


January 2018

ATD Tech Knowledge

24 – 26 January 2018 │San Diego, CA, USA

Conferences offered by the Association for Talent Development (ATD) feature strongly in this calendar, so it’s fitting that ATD’s Tech Knowledge conference kicks off our 2018 calendar of conference events.  This conference starts soon, but it seems a great choice for anyone involved in eLearning.  Visit the ATD Tech Knowledge site for more info.

Learning Technologies

30 – 31 January and 01 February 2018 │Olympia, London

Learning Technologies 2018 also starts soon but may be worth the last-minute scramble to get there.  Themes listed on the conference page include technology that promotes learning, learning culture, workplace learning, and much more.  For more information, visit the Learning Technologies site.


February 2018

Training Magazine Conference and Expo

12-14 February 2018 │Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Training Magazine’s conference and expo look terrific, especially for those of us in the Train-the-Trainer space.  Atlanta in winter should be lovely!  More information.

ITC eLearning Conference

11 – 14 February 2018 │Tuscon, Arizona, USA

One contributor recommended the Instructional Technology Council (ITC) conference as a source of great professional development at a manageable price.  I had a look at the agenda for this year’s conference, and it seems packed with useful sessions for any of us who want to extend our expertise in distance or eLearning. Go to the ITC eLearning Conference page for more information.

Knowledge Management Australia

22 February 2018 │Melbourne, Australia

This event was recommended by one contributor and seems to be an inaugural event.  For those of us in Melbourne in February, this may be worth attending.  Visit the Knowledge Management site for more information.


March 2018

Learning Solutions 2018 Conference & Expo

27-29 March 2018 │Orlando, Florida, USA

The eLearning Guild is another organisation whose events feature strongly in this post.  The first of their three 2018 conferences will be held in March.  According to eLearning Guild,

‘If you’re looking for practical, “use on Monday” content, then this is the event for you.’

This quote comes from a helpful pdf that summarises eLearning Guild’s three 2018 conferences.  Download the pdf.

For more detailed information, go to the Learning Solutions Conference and Expo home page.


April 2018

Workhuman Conference

April 2-5, 2018 │Austin, Texas, USA

With Simon Sinek as a keynote speaker, you know this conference will be interesting!  I had a look at the conference agenda – it seems to cater to leaders, managers HR teams and/or educators, and focuses on the theme of making the workplace ‘human’.  And Austin is a cool, funky city!  Check out the Work Human website for more information.

ASU + GSV Summit

16 – 18 April │San Diego, CA, USA

Arizona State University (ASU) and Global Silicon Valley (GSU) have combined forces to offer this summit, which features a strong innovation theme.  For details, visit the ASU + GSV Summit site.


16 – 18 April │Bristol, UK

The Association for Learning Technology (ALT) is hosting its 9th annual Open Education Research (OER18) in April.  Bristol is a favourite town of mine – I spent three summers there when in university – perhaps some time for nostalga!  More information on the OER18 site.

AVETRA VET Practitioner Research Conference

26 April │Melbourne, Australia

The Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association will hold its inaugural VET Practitioner Research Conference in 2018.  The program will be announced in March.  See the conference page for latest information.


May 2018

ATD ICE 2018

06 – 09 May│San Diego, CA, USA

The Association for Talent Development’s International Congress and Exposition (ATD ICE) seems to be THE conference to go to.  Three contributors recommended this conference.

ATD ICE 2018 features Barak Obama delivering a keynote presentation.  Enough said, really, but…

One contributor offered this commentary about ATD ICE that I thought was worth passing on in case you decide to go:

It is certainly the biggest event for our industry in the world. It is well run and there are so many different experiences to have. Networking (and if you’re up early enough netwalking), the vendor exhibition is massive and you can connect with a range of delegations in the dedicated international space.

I have been 5 times and have always got something out of it.

The downside is its size.  There is hot competition for some presentations and if you don’t get there early enough you may not get a seat (or the room capacity is reached and you can’t get in at all). I found myself strategically picking a room that had my pick of the day session and getting in there for the session before.

And San Diego will be nice in May!

The ATD ICE 2018 page has more information.

RTC Conference and Exhibition

14 – 15 May│Brisbane, Australia

The Resources Training Council sponsors this annual conference and exhibition.  A few respondents who I know and respect have recommended it for people working in the field.  Conference details are here.


June 2018

AITD Conference (offered in partnership with EduTECH International Congress and Expo)

7 and 8 June 2018 │ Sydney, Australia

I have attended the Australian Institute of Training and Development (AITD)’s Annual National Conference four times and will be there again this year.  This conference features speakers who are global leaders in learning, development and performance.  I always walk away feeling informed, inspired, and slightly uncomfortable as I consider all the new concepts and ideas to add to my educational repertoire.

This year the AITD are partnering with EduTECH to deliver their conference.  I usually go to both EduTECH and the AITD National Conference each year.  In 2018 I’ll be able to take in two great events at the same time.

Visit the AITD Conference site for more information.

2018 Realities360 Conference

26-28 June 2018 │San Jose, CA, USA

This is another of the eLearning Guild’s three conferences for 2018.  What makes this ‘Realities 360’ conference so interesting, is that this is the first time it will be run.  Focusing on virtual reality and alternate reality technologies, this seems a great event to attend if you’re looking for the ‘next thing’ in education and development.  Click here for more information about Realities 360.


July 2018

CPSI 2018

19 -24 June 2018 │Buffalo, New York, USA

The Creative Problem Solving Institute (CPSI) conference offers learning experiences to help us explore creativity and innovation. Reading more about this conference, they offer options for beginners and experts alike, when it comes to creative practice.  This event could offer vital expansions of our skills as educators.  Visit the CPSI 2018 website for more information.


August 2018

IVETA International Conference

12 – 15 August 2018 │Cape Town, South Africa

The International Vocational Education and Training Association (IVETA) will hold its 2018 annual conference in Cape Town this year.  As the respondent who suggested this conference said:

“the networking and international perspective is highly valuable.”

Click here for more information.


September 2018

VDC Teaching and Learning Conference

6 – 7 September 2018 │ Torquay, Victoria

VET Development Centre (VDC)’s 2018 Teaching and Learning Conference won’t be just ‘a conference’ – it’ll also be that luxury retreat we may so badly need by this time of the year.  This conference is specifically designed for vocational education and training (VET) teaching staff.  The VDC 2018 site doesn’t yet have information about the 2018 program, but reading about the VDC 2017 program has made me decide to ‘stay tuned’ for more info about the 2018 event.

Association for Learning Technology

11 – 13 September 2018 │ Manchester, UK

Association for Learning Technology (ALT) in the UK will host its 25th annual conference in Manchester.  Themes will be:  openness, participation, collaboration, independence, and wildcard.  The participation theme includes literacy which is a particular interest of mine.  The ALT conference website elaborates on these themes and has more conference information.

Velg Training National VET Conference

13 – 14 September 2018 │ Adelaide, SA, Australia

If you’re a vocational education and training (VET) professional in Australia, you can’t go past Velg Training’s National VET Conference (NVC). Always well attended and well run, this conference is the major event for VET practitioners in Australia. NVC2018 will be in Adelaide.  The Velg Training NVC site has details.

Creative Training Techniques Conference

26 – 28 September 2018 │ Minneapolis, Minnesota

This annual conference is offered by the Bob Pike Group. 2018 will be its 25th year.  The 2018 Conference Information site offers no information about the conference just yet, only an opportunity to register.


October 2018

DevLearn 2018 Conference and Expo

24-26 October 2018 │ Mirage Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas

DevLearn is another of the eLearning Guild’s 2018 conferences, and I know it to be a well-attended event. This conference focuses on learning technologies.  It offers delegates access to the people, software and devices that sit at the cutting edge of technology-assisted training and education.  And it’s in Vegas!  See the DevLearn 2018 Conference site for more information.


November 2018


7 – 8 November 2018 │ Manchester, UK

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) offers an annual conference and exhibition (ACE). CIPD ACE 2017 attracted about 4,000 delegates.  Its theme was Embracing the new world of work.

Although we know the dates of CIPD ACE 2018, we don’t yet know much else.  No doubt more details of this year’s conference theme, presenters and agenda will also be released in coming weeks or months.  I plan to stay tuned to the CIPD ACE website for latest news as it is released.


7 – 8 November 2018 │ Geelong, VIC, Australia

The Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ASCILITE) will hold its 35th annual conference in November.  This year’s theme is, Open Oceans: Learning Without Borders.  The ASCILITE 2018 site has more information.


December 2018

In December we will again look back to look forward.  We will look back on all things learned in 2018 and look forward to another 12 months of learning.


Summary and acknowledgements

My thanks to those who contributed to this post.  I haven’t sought your permission, so won’t ‘name you publicly.  The brilliant thing is that I knew only three of you personally before I posted this question online.  Already I have enjoyed the benefits of an expanded network.

I trust that readers will also find this list of conferences—global and local, large and small—a useful starting point as you consider your professional development options for 2018.   This is not an exhaustive list.  Please add more suggestions using the comments box.  No promotional material please, just personal recommendations, with a link to relevant information.

Happy 2018, happy learning!