Today is once again National Learning at Work Day in the UK, a day that all L&D professionals might take warmly to. I sometimes, though, call it ‘national L&D false dichotomy day’, because we don’t.
Learning at Work Day (#NLAWDay) is run by the Campaign for Learning. I’m a big fan of CfL, which works all year round to engage employers in ensuring learning opportunities for their employees.
The Campaign for Learning explains Learning at Work Day like this:
Learning at Work (LAW) Day is an annual awareness campaign organised by the Campaign for Learning (CfL) since 1999…. 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.
Pretty straight forward, and 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 two:
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
False choice: you can want both learning and technology/performance/mobile
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, and 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.
We have a choice on a day like this – pull together or stand apart.
It’s a bit like politics, or any movement. When you work together you do more. And if we don’t pull together, we risk being as divided as the Conservatives, as policy-light as Labour, as crazed as UKIP and, ultimately, as ignored as the Lib Dems.
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.