While it has not been announced with a great fanfare of publicity there is, nonetheless, a strong rumour that National Learning at Work Day 2010 will take place on 20th May as part of Adult Learners’ Week. Apparently, the Day is about workplaces making a commitment to learning and skills by holding events and activities for their employees.
Held each May and now in its 19th year, Adult Learners’ Week aims to celebrate learning and learners in all their diversity, recognising the achievements of individuals, groups, families and projects through national and regional awards. Adult Learners’ Week is celebrated in over 50 countries across the world. Adult Learners’ Week was founded, and is coordinated, by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE).


Comment: What is worrying about this is that designating a day – or even a week – as special to adult learning or learning at work is that it gives the distinct impression to those who are not ‘learning professionals’ that learning can – or, worse still, should -only take place at that time. Yet all of us need to learn something new every day – not only to develop our knowledge, skills and expertise but also to stop us from becoming bored and depressed with our function in life.


We don’t need an ‘Adult Learners’ Week’ and a ‘National Learning at Work Day’ because learning – at work or anywhere – is not something that we turn ‘on and ‘off’ but, rather, something we should be doing all the time.


Moreover, having these things sends completely the wrong message to the CEOs, FDs and other business worthies. These are the people whom the corporate learning world needs to convince that learning – both in the formal and informal sense – needs to be part and parcel of everyday business life; not something ‘special’ that is an added cost in terms of time and money for workers and their managers who are already under pressure to be ever more productive, doing more with less.