14 Professional Organizations for Learning and Development Leaders to Join - Senior Executive

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Learning and Development (L&D) Resources 7 min

14 Professional Organizations for Learning and Development Leaders to Join

Joining these professional organizations can help chief learning officers and other L&D leaders expand their networks, share insights and resources, and advance their careers.

by Senior Executive Media Editors on November 30, 2023


  • Professional organizations for learning and development executives can provide you with the tools and resources you need to support your organization’s L&D efforts.

  • An L&D professional organization is also a gateway to building your network of learning leaders.

  • Many of these professional training organizations offer virtual workshops, conferences, and mentorship programs designed to help L&D leaders advance their careers.

Membership at professional organizations can benefit you at any stage of your career. They provide great tools and resources to help you do your job, a steady stream of opportunities to network and share insights with professionals like yourself, and other benefits to support your career advancement and professional growth. 

Learning and development (L&D) professionals, specifically, should look for communities focused on their areas of expertise, so you can share experiences unique to your field and collaborate on solutions to common challenges.

We’ve identified 14 organizations that offer benefits particularly appealing for chief learning officers and other L&D executives. For example, they offer leadership development workshops, talent development training and certifications, mentorships, and continued learning programs to address issues ranging from employee engagement to workforce development. Click on the names below, listed alphabetically, to jump down and read more about each organization.

The Senior Executive L&D editorial team is constantly speaking with L&D leaders to keep up with new developments and trends in the industry for our collection of L&D resources. To suggest additions for this resource, please contact Senior Executive Media at editor@seniorexecutive.com.

Senior Executive L&D Think Tank

The Senior Executive L&D Think Tank is a criteria-based digital community for chief learning officers and senior-level L&D leaders at organizations of 1,000+ employees. It’s an opportunity to connect with industry peers, exchange best practices, and grow in your discipline. See if you qualify today.

  • Year Founded: 2023
  • Membership Details:
    • Cost: Not Listed
    • Length: 1 year
    • Industry: General
  • Number of Members: 12+
  • Headquarters: n/a, Open to L&D leaders in the U.S. and Canada
  • Application page

1. Academy of Human Resource Development

A global organization dedicated to a scholarly approach to human resource development (HRD), including training and development; diversity, equity, and inclusion in HRD; and organizational development.

  • Year Founded: 1993
  • Membership Details:
    • Regular: $220 for one year
    • Student: $130 for one year
    • Special Interest Group: $60 for one year
  • Number of Members: About 700 worldwide
  • Headquarters: Saint Paul, Minn.

2. American Management Association

An organization committed to L&D training that offers online and in-person courses on topics such as HR management, leadership, and diversity and inclusion at the organizational and individual levels. The organization also has a corporate L&D event series, fostering skills and competencies growth.

  • Year Founded: 1923
  • Membership Details:
    • Individual: $239 for a year, after a 30-day free trial
    • Corporate: $2,495 for a year, including 10 individual memberships
  • Number of Members: n/a
  • Headquarters: New York, N.Y.
  • Regional Chapters: 16 global partners including Canadian Management Centre in Toronto, AMA China in Shanghai, Quintegral Philippines in Manila, and Management Centre Europe in Brussels

3. Association for Talent Development

A global organization, formerly known as the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD), dedicated to talent development and workplace learning improvement, with members from more than 120 countries. Some training programs include Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD®) and Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD), which are the only certifications in the talent development industry. 

  • Year Founded: 1943
  • Membership Details:
    • Professional: $279 to $634 per year for individuals
    • Enterprise: $299 to $409 per team member per year for organizations
  • Number of Members: About 40,000
  • Headquarters: Alexandria, Va.
  • Regional Chapters: Located across the U.S.

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4. Human Capital Institute

An organization for HR professionals to help develop talent and align business strategy with human capital strategy. Membership benefits include access to the Human Capital Academy, certification programs such as the HCI Certificate, virtual conferences, tools, resources, and more.

  • Year Founded: 2004
  • Membership Details:
    • Virtual: $1,895 for a year
  • Number of Members: n/a
  • Headquarters: Cincinnati, Ohio

5. The International E-Learning Association

A global organization for e-learning, designed for researchers, professionals, and practitioners. It’s known for the IELA Awards, given annually to recognize the best work in online learning in both the academic and business/industry divisions.

  • Year Founded: 2007
  • Membership Details
    • Individual: $100 for a year
    • Organizational: $500 for a year for up to 20 members
  • Number of Members: n/a
  • Headquarters: New York, N.Y.

6. International Professional Development Association

A global organization, including IPDA USA, dedicated to professional learning, development, and training across industries, with more than 200 members in 17 countries.

  • Year Founded: 1969
  • Membership Details:
    • Individual online: About $39 a year
    • Individual: About $84 a year
  • Number of Members: More than 200 members
  • Headquarters: London
  • Regional Chapters: Eight country associations, including IPDA USA, IPDA England, IPDA Hong Kong, and IPDA India

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7. International Society for Performance Improvement

A nonprofit membership organization committed to providing strategies and best practices for performance improvement, driving business results across sectors.

  • Year Founded: 1962
  • Membership Details:
    • Individual: $55 to $215 a year
    • Corporate: $1,750 to $8,500 a year
  • Number of Members: n/a
  • Headquarters: Argyle, Texas
  • Regional Chapters: Current chapters include ISPI Atlanta, ISPI Massachusetts, ISPI Minnesota, ISPI Texas, and ISPI Montreal; prospective chapters include ISPI New Jersey, ISPI Pennsylvania (Philly), and ISPI Mumbai 

8. ISA: The Association of Learning Providers

An organization dedicated to training, performance improvement, and talent development. Its membership includes more than 60 companies with annual revenues ranging from $1 million to more than $200 million. The majority of members are privately held firms. 

  • Year Founded: 1978
  • Membership Details:
    • $5,995 a year for firms with annual revenues less than $2 million
    • $8,995 a year for firms with annual revenues of $2 million or more
  • Number of Members: More than 60 companies
  • Headquarters: Dale City, Va.

9. The Learning Development Accelerator

A membership organization designed specifically for L&D professionals that offers idea exchanges, workshops, mini conferences, book clubs, and job search support. LDA also has its own publishing house. 

  • Year Founded: 2020
  • Membership Details:
    • $295 a year
  • Number of Members: n/a
  • Headquarters: Bloomington, Ind.

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10. The Learning Guild

A community organization for L&D professionals who want to create better learning experiences for their employees, focused on learning technologies and industry trends. It offers learning solutions publication, conferences, newsletters, research reports, and webinars. Premium membership to the Learning Leaders Alliance also includes monthly chats with global industry leaders, access to an exclusive networking Slack channel, conference discounts, and more.

  • Year Founded: 2002 
  • Membership Details:
    • Basic membership is free
    • Additional charges for enhancements: $395 for a single online conference; $495 for an annual online conference subscription; $695 a year for membership to the Learning Leaders Alliance
  • Number of Members: n/a
  • Headquarters: New York, N.Y.

11. National Association of Workforce Development Professionals

This community of workforce development professionals allows members to view proposals from workforce development organizations nationwide. Among other networking opportunities, the organization connects HR practitioners to jobs, companies, and jobseekers, looking to advance L&D efforts across industries and sectors. 

  • Year Founded: 1994
  • Membership Details:
    • Individual: $95 a year
    • Group discounts available
  • Number of Members: n/a
  • Headquarters: West Plains, Mo.

12. The National Council for Workforce Education

A nonprofit organization dedicated to workforce development professionals, encompassing leadership and professional development activities, best practices for workforce education advocacy, and creating networks for workforce education professionals.

  • Year Founded: n/a 
  • Membership Details:
    • Individual: $275 a year, prorated to expire on July 1
    • Organization: $295 a year, prorated to expire on July 1
  • Number of Members: n/a
  • Headquarters: Santa Rosa, Calif.

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13. Society for Human Resource Management

A professional human resources membership association, with over 325,000 HR and business leaders in the community. SHRM’s resources include the Advocacy Team, which shapes policy, and Senior Leadership Programs, which contribute to professional development at the top levels.

  • Year Founded: 1948
  • Membership Details:
    • Professional: $244 a year
    • Professional Retired: $55 a year
  • Number of Members: More than 325,000
  • Headquarters: Alexandria, Va.
  • Regional Chapters: Located worldwide

14. Toastmasters International

While not an explicitly L&D professional organization, Toastmasters is an educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership development skills, which can help L&D professionals become stronger communicators. Each local chapter typically has around 20 members and meets weekly for an hour.  

  • Year Founded: 1924
  • Membership Details:
    • $45 every six months for international dues, plus a one-time $20 new member fee
  • Number of Members: Approximately 280,000
  • Headquarters: Englewood, Colo.
  • Regional Chapters: 14,700 Toastmasters clubs located worldwide

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