Today it’s the European elections. It’s also once again National Learning at Work Day in the UK, a day that all L&D professionals should warm to. But we don’t. Like the parties in the election, we’re divided and a bit miserable, with many involved wanting nothing to do with the whole affair.
[Yes, this pretty much a re-run of last year's post. I'll keep saying the same thing each year until I think I've made my point.]
The Campaign for Learning explains its Learning at Work Day (#NLAWDay) like this:
Learning at Work Day …. 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.
What’s not to like? Yet each year the L&D community uses this as an opportunity to engage in the false dichotomy game, otherwise known as the fallacy of false choice. Here are three:
You should be learning all year long not just on one day!
False choice: you can learn all year long and learn on one day. In fact, if you are learning all year long you have to learn on Learning at Work Day, don’t you?
We shouldn’t be concentrating on learning at work, we should be concentrating on technology/performance/mobile at work/[insert speaker's hobby horse]
False choice: you can want both learning and technology/performance/mobile
We should have an [insert speaker's hobby horse] Day instead!
Sigh. Guess what: you can have both. In fact you can have as many as you like (well, up to 365 in total). If really you want that day, go out and start it! Meanwhile, we already have Learning at Work Day. It’s today. Having to choose between your invented day and what’s happening today is a FALSE CHOICE.
I could go on, but you get the idea.
The thing is this: today we celebrate and promote L&D to those who don’t get it. By making a concerted effort together, we can have more effect. It doesn’t mean that we don’t try to promote learning the rest of the year (that would be a false dichotomy). It just means that today, for one, single day, we work together and as a result have more impact.
It’s a bit like the 39 parties going into the Euro elections. We have a choice: pull together or stand apart. We can have impact, or be seen as a bickering, internally-divided and irrelevant to the real world.
There is an alternative. We could just all agree that learning at work is a good thing, and a day that celebrates it has to be a good day too.