Another bandwagon I’m avoiding…

Posted on Jan 24, 2013

… is the annual ‘Learning at Work Day’ (I’m not linking to it out of principle)

What I can’t wrap my head around is that in recent years we, as L&D professionals have (and are) taking considerable steps in:

So why, once a year, do many of us jump on this particular bandwagon and before you say

it’s nice to give it its own space


it’s good to concentrate and focus on it

know that my response will be

what are you doing for the other 364 days of the year

why aren’t you/your organisation concentrating on embedding learning and performance in every day life and if you are, why the need for this ‘focus’ once a year?

Hell, why don’t we have an annual ‘Performing at Work’ day? (can you imagine how that would go down with your leadership team?)

I know it’s ‘fashionable’ to get on these sorts of bandwagons and with many ‘trendy’ names backing this, I’m sure that I’ll get some flack for these thoughts…….




  1. ‘Learning at Work Day’ (I’m not linking to it out of principle) lol – I don’t think it is fashionable is it?

    • burrough I remember from my vendor days that lots of Orgs used to want some sort of ‘campaign’ or ‘activity’ for the day. I’ve also seen a few commentators who are normally all about ‘informal’, ‘performance’ and ‘continual learning’ jumping on the bandwagon too!

  2. So let me get this straight. Your against one work day out of the year dedicated towards ‘learning’ -> possibly increasing productivity, and hell if its a throw away day where nothing gets done, wouldn’t that increase moral of drones that do the same thing day in and day out?

    • adamcrooker Hi Adam, if there was no other way to introduce the benefits of learning and in turn performance within an organisation then I’d be happy to accept this notion of a ‘Learning at Work’ day. 
      But let’s be honest, there are far more effective methods to be used than a single ‘throw-away’ day. Take a look at the work that burrough has been doing here
      I’m no psychologist, but I reckon I’m fairly safe in saying that a longer term, embedded, ‘real world’ approach to demonstrating the benefits of lifelong learning and in turn the advantages that that brings will have a far greater effect on increasing morale for the ‘drones’ (a pity you had to use such a derogatory word) than a single, annual concentration of effort.

  3. Thanks Craig, I totally understand your frustration.
     Been there, seen that, cringed.
    Good on you for sticking to
    your principles and not linking to it. The slogan was enough to get the gist of
    what the rest of your blog post was going to be about.
    On the plus side, at least
    you expressed that it must be an ongoing thing and tied to work.  The more
    I read about various recent blog posts regarding the future of L&D, the more I’m
    resigning myself to the fact that the days of banging my head against the wall
    aren’t over. If anything, that wall has solidified more over the years and my head
    can only take so much.
    Some days I reflect on my future in L&D and just entirely scrapping this term from my CV so that I’m not pigeon-holed into someone else’s expectations on what they think I should be delivering to solve their business issue. 
    A recent blog post really put
    it into perspective for me.  Barry Sampson’s, “What Business Are We In?” said that “there’s a serious disconnect between what the business wants from L&D and what they believe they’re getting” and “not delivering on the standard they’ve set for us”
    And then there’s people like us.
    When I read your frustrations, I understand because I’m going through the same thing. 
    How are you dealing with it?  
    Sometimes I sit in meetings just listening to what is going around me and a little part of me cringes at some solutions they come up with.  When I talk about some of the things I’ve been learning through the work of Jarche, Hart, Jennings and others, they do consider it momentarily but it’s too new.  Just two days ago I was asked to explain, “this e-learning stuff” by an L&D colleague so no wonder we have our own challenges too.  
    So it’s not only business that looks to us as if we’re continually complaining and not delivering on what they want; but our own colleagues within the profession who have varying degrees of knowledge and understanding of this new world.
    What’s it mean? I don’t know.
    Do we turn a blind eye or stay silent and just carry on what they want us to do?  Don’t know – for me, I just don’t feel right –  it’s like going through the motions.
    But then it begs the questions, are we really there yet? Will we find an organisation and a team of people who are willing to challenge the status quo?

  4. I think (and I would say this as a marketing bod) that it needs rebranding. I totally get where you and others are coming from with your frustration, but I also feel it could be a force for good in terms of recognising learning beyond the usual L&D crowd. Changing the name and broadening the concept could make all the difference.

  5. I get the sentiment Craig and for many of us we are in that space. But surely there are always more people to reach out to and if there’s a day or event that helps and supports that then its a good thing right?

  6. Agree – why one week, one day – it is everyday! But if someone used this week as a start of a campaign that would be worth it.

  7. It is like when my employer sponsored “Learning and Development Week” which had a stated goal of fostering a culture of continuous learning.  They planned to make this an annual event.  The conflict in event design and stated goal was too silly to even attempt to address. 
    Each day I learn and practice my craft. I evolve with business. I don’t need a dedicated event to tell me to grow. It’s a natural process; just look around the org and you can see it. No event needed.
    And the “forced march to event-based training” as much as we want to believe has some good side-effects (heighten awareness, etc…), I would hope that L&D leaders would educate sponsors on good principles (spacing effect, embedding learning in the workflow, etc.) in lieu of participating in reinforcing “Learning Day, Week, etc…”  It sells out our craft and reinforces perceptions that need no more fuel added to its fire.
    </rant> #1ofmyhotbuttons

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