A few months ago I tweeted about a new thing I was working on to help support and promote independent learning at work. I was a little premature in announcing it and we ended up pushing it back until January, which is why I’ve been quiet about it. But January is here and Love Learning is live. I’m going to commit to posting about it at least once a month to help me reflect on what is and isn’t working and to invite feedback to challenge my thinking. So feel free to be rude about it.
Last week our CEO announced the launch of Love Learning, our new campaign to promote independent learning, increase internal and external networking and improve collaboration and knowledge sharing habits across the company.
First up it’s a campaign, not a course or a series of workshops. There is very little going on in terms of learning design, I’ve spent most of the past two months working on collateral instead of courseware. I spend more time editing intranet pages and curating content on scoop.it than I do story-boarding for Captivate.
So what is Love Learning if there’s no designed learning. Is it all hype and hyperbole?
It’s a marketing campaign, we’re selling people content and concepts. Each month has a theme, January is self-improvement, learning to learn more effectively with technology and setting goals you actually care about. Next month we get into the basic business skills that so many people seem to lack or take for granted. We start that part of the campaign with productivity, managing email, meetings, personal productivity techniques etc.
How does it work?
Each month starts with an article on the front page of the intranet news site to introduce the topic. We don’t have any fancy systems to use for this, our LMS is of no use in this respect and our intranet is barely serviceable to be honest. But we have managed to tweak (I would say hack, but that word gives my boss the fear) the news section of the intranet. It’s the one area that lets you add HTML code, so we’ve created a template that let’s us add images, icons to link to other parts of the campaign and a content slider showcasing our Scoop.it content. Everything else on the intranet is text with the odd picture on menu pages, so it stands out in a good way.
We aim to post two articles a week that develop the topic, invite participation and promote other resources for people to try. We can monitor engagement by the rudimentary tracker reports, it ain’t exactly WordPress, but it gives us some data to go on.
Scoop.it is the next important resource. We have a pro account, which so far is our only real outlay. It costs a whopping £8 a month, but we think it’s worth it because we get 10 topics and more detailed user data. This gives us a pretty good idea how many people are accessing scoop.it direct from the intranet and which articles are popular. As the campaign develops we hope to see more people with their own scoop.it accounts, which will also show up on the analytics.
We’re using Chatter to add a social community to the campaign. This is going to be a slow burner because only about 250 people have chatter accounts, we have to persuade the rest to join up and of course participate. So far we have two members of the Love Learning group ( and one of them is me)!
We’ll be running monthly webinars to round-up each topic and get some extra participation going and we are trying to convince marketing/comms to let us use their email marketing platform so we can send everyone a monthly roundup in the format they are most familiar with.
That’s the gist of it really. The hard work, which we’re just starting now, is getting people to try something different. We need managers to support and promote this from the top down. We’ve got support from the top. It was fantastic to get the CEO to launch the campaign in his New Year email. It means that we can name check him every time someone says “what’s Love Learning”. But the reality is we need to win hearts and mind all the way up and down the organisation. So we’re getting into as many manager meetings across the company to explain face to face what we’re doing, answer any questions and get feedback and insight.
It’s already become clear that the biggest barrier we have to overcome is time. One of the strengths of courses is that they give officially sanctioned time to learn. The problem with informal learning is that people can’t find, or aren’t allowed, the time to learn. The issue still afflicts courses, because when you get back to work you’re unlikely to get the time to reflect on how to implement what you learn.
So my no.1 challenge this year is to find a way for people to learn informally at work without feeling like they are doing something wrong.
I’m thinking about trying to get a find 15 or take 10 initiative going, but what other ways have you seen or tried that created space for learning at work?