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…