I am one of those people who can say I have been developed to within an inch of my life and, if I am honest, continue to be so. Formal, informal, classroom, virtual, you name it, I am likely to have done it.
I fully recognise that I may be considered ‘privileged’, determined or maybe just plain lucky in this respect, but it is also the reason that I think ‘learning at work week’ is a bit of a strange concept. You may think that is a rather odd and slightly career-limiting thing to say, given we are in Learning at Work Week, but please hear me out.
The beauty of learning is that it can and does happen at different times and places. For me, it is not limited to a week and does not need to happen at work. However, it is a very good way to get everyone focused and energised to learn, particularly if it is not something that naturally leaps from the ‘to do’ list in to a completed action. Especially given the multitude of activities on offer across the Civil Service.
Watching my 7-year-old daughter grow reminds me that learning can be fun and should not just be about being developed by others – even at 7, she and her classmates are far from passive recipients of whatever wisdom is imparted to them. I believe learning is a gift which leaves me in a different (usually better) state than I was beforehand. It is something that, if truly embraced, can benefit many more people that those either giving or receiving the learning. It also means those delivering or facilitating learning are key – but that can be the subject for another blog post.
We all have different styles and preferences for how we learn. But for all of my learning experiences, the most memorable have been those where I have seen learning in practice (that is, not from a textbook), where I’ve been able to explore and try things out, and when I have left my preconceptions and inhibitions at the door and tried to maximise the opportunity before me.
So, my thought is this, keeping an open mind, being an active player and seeking out lots of different learning opportunities collectively leads to increased wellbeing, greater productivity and provides an all-round energy boost for the day, week, month, year ahead. I am sure there are a multitude of stats that can support or disprove my argument, but that’s not the point. Learning at Work Week is an opportunity to try something different, or repeat something you have enjoyed in the past.
Have you lost anything by giving it (in whatever form) a go?
Whatever your own preference for how and where you learn, look out for learning opportunities – and not just in Learning at Work Week!