Learn At Work Day

Yesterday, Thursday 19 May, was Learn At Work Day (LAWD).  Run by the Campaign for Learning, it’s an annual awareness campaign that’s run since 1999.  It’s designed to ‘promote and support workplace learning events across the country. It aims to draw attention to the importance of workplace learning and skills. It encourages people to offer learning to all employees especially to those that may not participate in current learning opportunities.’

This is an event that REDTRAY has traditionally always got involved with in partnership with clients who are keen to take LAWD as an opportunity to promote what their hard working L&D teams are doing within their organisations.  This year the theme was ‘Make the future matter’ so in the name of progress we went virtual!  We ran webinars and live online learning sessions on a variety of topics with some fantastic speakers from the likes of the Open University and the Institute of IT Training.  We also provided access to our CloudRooms Office virtual classrooms to let people try it out and experience what is inevitably going to be an important learning medium in the future (indeed, virtual classrooms already are in many organisations).  This was all well received and extremely enjoyable with great feedback from the learners.

If Twitter is anything to go by there was a huge amount of activity going on elsewhere for LAWD too.  However, I’ve found that the feelings around this event are mixed.  Whilst many have embraced it, others I’ve spoken to feel that every day should be about learning at work, so why do we need an annual event.  In fact, does it do more harm than good? Does it only serve to reinforce the traditional idea of training where the focus is all around a specific date and event – and then the learners go back to their day job and forget all about what they’ve learnt?

My own opinion (and as someone who works in marketing, I suppose I would say this) is that any opportunity to promote and celebrate what L&D can do and what learning resources there are for people, can only be a good thing.  I’ve referred previously to Lars Hyland’s ‘campaign vs course’ philosophy and I think that LAWD could be a useful part of any L&D team’s on-going campaign.  Why not take the chance to let learning take centre stage and help people find and use learning tools that they can use when they’re back at their desks?  Mike Collins said quite rightly, that the ‘if you build it they will come’ attitude doesn’t work in reality.  Even the companies who make the best products or deliver the best services in the world – Apple, Rolex, Amazon – still have to market themselves.  Simply creating a great product or delivering a great service on its own isn’t enough to achieve success.  So can’t a bit of of extra communication and promotion from LAWD help our cause?

What are your thoughts on LAWD?  Good, bad, indifferent?! Let me know…


About kategraham23

Start-up founder, writer, connector, librarian's daughter. Interested in learning, HR, technology, online, media, marketing, fashion and cricket. Not always in that order. The views expressed here are solely my own and do not reflect the thoughts and opinions of the company I work for currently, or those I've worked for in the past.
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6 Responses to Learn At Work Day

  1. Hi Kate,
    I completely agree. We might ideally want everyone else to consider work and learning as inseparable as we in the industry do, but the reality is that they often don’t. Some people maybe because they don’t consider it all that important; others perhaps because they just don’t have the time (or don’t know how to make the time) to invest in their ongoing learning and development. If an event like Learning At Work Day can draw people’s attention back to it, or give them some ideas that make it easier for them to learn at work every day, I think that’s a good thing. It’s an interesting topic though – thanks for another thought-provoking post!


  2. Niall Gavin says:

    Being a bit careful about what I say here, as an internal provider of some of the service, but all quiet on the LAWD front here yesterday – as much my fault as anyone else’s. Much to do and hopefully will be in a better position to do something about it next year. Not very impressed with self or others at the moment tho’ t.b.h.


  3. kategraham23 says:

    Thanks for the comments guys. Niall, you sound frustrated but I bet it’s common that people don’t have the time or resources to do more with LAWD. As a supplier, we did a lot of the leg work for our clients to provide them with something they could make a buzz about, without them needing to dedicate too much internal resource to it. Maybe you could push your suppliers a bit for next year and get them involved and picking up some of the slack? I’m sure Stephanie would agree that Saffron would do the same for their clients. Just a thought anyway 🙂


  4. Matt Brewer says:

    Hi Kate,
    My experience of it was pretty much identical to Niall’s in that there was no mention of it here whatsoever. From the various comments, tweets etc that I’ve seen, it looks like there’s a clearish split (with a few exceptions) between the type of organisations that do things for #LAWD and those that don’t. For those companies in the learning industry, it makes absolute sense to get vocal about #LAWD as it’s a great way to raise awareness and market themselves. For those who perform an L&D role within a non-learning industry organisation, I think it’s seen more as a ‘nice to have’ if there is any resource to put towards it (which is generally pretty rare). I think there’s also a danger that it can have the opposite of the desired outcome, with the target audience seeing it as just another token ‘national somethingorother day’.


  5. Mike Collins says:

    Hi Kate,

    Great post and I think LAWD is a topic that splits some people and this split occurs within L&D as well as non-L&D. Agree with other points and with Matt that in reality ‘the business’ do probably see this as another ‘justanotherdaythat’sgotanameday”. This really is a shame as if you break down what LAWD is really trying to do then it is absolutely the right sort of thing to do that can promote and market your learning ‘campaigns’ or other learning solutions.

    If it helps provide focus and more engagement between L&D and learners then this again can only be a good things. My view that if you do something for LAWD and just one person changes something or attends a course, updates their PDP or discusses development options to support that next career move then is a worthwhile investment of time and resources.

    Where I think L&D needs to work harder is shifting this ‘push’ culture where learning is seen as something that L&D ‘own’ and line managers find or suggest for their people to a more self-directed culture where learners take ownership for their own development. A culture that comes from the top down that ensures line managers have the key skills needed to discuss learning and how it has linked to their role and (improves) performance. If this happened every week and line managers had daily / weekly chats based on ‘what have you learned this week, where did you find it, can it help others in the team, can you share it, how has it improved your performance etc it would put such an emphasis on this being ‘the right behaviour’ and if reward and recognition policies were linked to this as well………..mmm maybe I’m dreaming again

    Either way LAWD – love it or hate it – it provides an opportunity for us hard working folk in L&D to walk tall for a day and sing our own praises – how could anyone argue that is not a good thing!!



  6. Damian Farrell says:

    Hi Kate – isn’t this what a blog should be about? Generating discussions?

    Good post but like Mike and Matt, nothing mentioned about this in our org. Maybe things will have moved on next year so that we can make a noise about this within the business.



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