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ATD Blog

The Definitive Resource for Talent Development: Do You Have It?

Thursday, February 15, 2024

The TDBoK™ Guide: Talent Development Body of Knowledge is written for talent development (TD) professionals like you. Its content ensures that you stay relevant and effective in today’s dynamic world as you enhance your professional knowledge, skills, and capabilities.

Why Did ATD Create a Body of Knowledge?

ATD has been researching and setting standards for training and TD since our first-published competency model in 1978. As our membership and the demand for more professional development options increased, we responded by creating and offering more than 100 certificate courses and establishing the ATD Certification Institute (CI), which offers two certification programs—the Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD®) and the Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD®).

With the expansion of these development opportunities, it became clear that the TD profession required a single source of information, terminology and definitions, and standards for the industry. We created the TDBoK Guide to serve as that definitive reference for all TD professionals. It provides content you can rely on for accuracy and a common language with others in the field. It also offers individuals outside of the profession a clear understanding of the capabilities that TD professionals contribute to their organizations.

Origins of the TDBoK Guide

To create the first edition of the TDBoK Guide, ATD collaborated with expert practitioners from the field and focused on ocietal trends affecting the profession, emerging topics in talent development, and updating existing models and methods. The TDBoK Guide also reflects the content within ATD’s Talent Development Capability Model TM, which is organized into three domains, comprised of 23 capabilities. The goal was to produce a resource that offered a deep dive into these 23 capabilities, and not only reflected current standards, but also set TD professionals on the right path for future success. With this resource, we aimed to:

  • Establish a gold standard for the TD industry. We sought to meet the highest possible standard of excellence and credibility and create a standard of comparison for the field. We established a rigorous development methodology and sustainable model that would support the continual assessment and vetting of content for the resource over time.
  • Deliver accurate and current content. To define the TDBoK Guide’s scope and core concepts; organize, standardize, and format the content; solve discrepancies; and allow for future updates, we deployed the 2021 Talent Development Capability Model Pulse Survey, which provided insight into how TD had shifted since the Capability Model was first published in 2019.
  • Ensure a broad perspective. We engaged individuals from various demographics, regions, and cultural backgrounds in this project to ensure a comprehensive and well-rounded representation of the TD field. This helped mitigate individual biases and reduce the risk of overlooking important aspects of the field, as well as foster consensus-building and inclusivity.


Success of the First Edition

Users of the first edition TDBoK Guide offer the following reasons for using it:

  • Stay relevant and effective in today’s dynamic world.
  • Save time and make your job easier with a curated TD library of current content, information, and definitions all in one place.
  • Increase your TD knowledge and self-confidence so you can speak with accuracy to your stakeholders and leaders.
  • Ensure you understand the knowledge required for the wide span of your work.
  • Easily define the requirements your leaders add to your job description.
  • Understand what’s involved in moving beyond delivering training to facilitating TD.
  • Gain an overview of what it takes to augment your organization’s strategic advantage.
  • Identify what’s involved in becoming a business partner and aligning your TD activities to your organizational strategy.
  • Learn what skills are expected of you as a trusted advisor to the leadership suite.
  • Study for the APTD or CPTD certification.
  • Develop learning plans and paths for your team.
  • Build a business case to achieve buy-in for TD initiatives.

What’s New in the Second Edition?

Positive feedback for the first edition came with a strong demand for a print edition and for wider availability and formats. With the second edition, ATD expanded the reach and use of the publication by creating print, digital, and translated versions, as well as members-only online access. We also integrated research, literature reviews, analytics, expert input, and custom feedback to generate the insights necessary to review and update the content.

The second edition of the TDBoK Guide incorporates updates and enhancements that align to contemporary TD practices, cover new needs of today’s professionals, and address shifts in the field and society. Additionally, six capabilities were chosen for a thorough targeted content review, based on data from the 2021 Talent Development Capability Model Pulse Survey and the Capability Model self-assessment, input from TDBoK Guide users, and overall insights from our products and services.


Here’s an overview of the chapter modifications:

  • Technology Application updates include expanded information on selecting, integrating, managing, and maintaining learning platforms and artificial intelligence.
  • Change Management concepts are now aligned to recently updated Association of Change Management Professionals (AMCP) and ATD Change Management models, and several other new theories, models, and approaches.
  • Data and Analytics updates include an expansion of the steps required to gather, organize, and analyze data. In addition, specific steps for data storytelling were added to this capability.
  • Cultural Awareness and Inclusion updates align to significant changes at the societal, organizational, and individual level. Inclusion is renamed diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to allow for the expansion of information across those three dimensions. We also updated definitions for various concepts within this capability.
  • Talent Strategy and Management updates include expanded content related to talent sourcing, succession planning, and the distinction between talent acquisition and TD, in the context of workforce and talent retention changes driven by the global pandemic.
  • Future Readiness updates include anticipating the workplace of the future and environmental scanning, and references to virtual collaboration tools were expanded.

We also improved internal cross-references, added and clarified definitions in the glossary, and updated the recommended reading list to improve the overall searchability and usability of the source.

ATD’s Commitment to Future Updates

As the TD field is ever-evolving, ATD will ensure that the TDBoK Guide also evolves to include the most relevant and accurate information. We will continue to do this through planned research activities, the establishment of a permanent advisory body, a mechanism to address discrepancies, and an ongoing review of your questions and feedback.

The second edition of the TDBoK Guide will be published on March 5, 2024. Determine which format best suits your needs, and secure your copy of the resource that every TD professional needs to grow in their career, today and in the future.

About the Author

Courtney Vital is the vice president of education at the Association for Talent Development. With more than twenty years’ experience, her work focuses on the development of learning initiatives that enable professionals to achieve their potential, demonstrate their credibility, and advance their career. Courtney holds the Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD) credential.

About the Author

Elaine Biech, president of ebb associates inc, a strategic implementation, leadership development, and experiential learning consulting firm, has been in the field for 30 years helping organizations work through large-scale change. She has presented at dozens of national and international conferences and has been featured in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Management Update, Investors Business Daily, and Fortune Magazine. She is the author and editor of over 50 books, including the ASTD Handbook for Workplace Learning Professionals, ASTD Leadership Handbook, 10 Steps to Successful Training, The Ultimate Trainer, Thriving Through Change, The Business of Consulting, 2nd ed., and Training for Dummies. A long time volunteer for ASTD, she has served on ASTD's National Board of Directors, was the recipient of the 1992 ASTD Torch Award, the 2004 ASTD Volunteer Staff Partnership Award, and the 2006 Gordon Bliss Memorial Award. Elaine was instrumental in compiling the CPLP study guides and has designed five ASTD Certificate Programs. In addition to her work with ATD, she has served on the Independent Consultants Association's (ICA) Advisory Committee and on the Instructional Systems Association (ISA) board of directors.

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