70-20-10: The new way of learning

When you are working in corporate learning you are probably being bombarded with trends like: Informal learning, social learning, workplace learning, 70-20-10 and many other topics like these. In this article we will look at these trends: what are they about and what can your organization do with them?



70-20-10 and how it changes your organizational

70-20-10 addresses how the Learner takes control and the L&D department moves from a controlling to a facilitating role. Corporate learning is moving from a top down approach to a bottom up one. There are many reasons for this fundamental change, I willhighlight a couple of the most important ones.

Changing employment

In the old days people used to work for one employer for a very long time (maybe their entire career!). Their employer would tell them which courses to take and which certificates to get in order to be promoted. The learner was a follower. Most learning organizations are still organized in order to execute these kind of top down processes, focused on management and control. These days’ people are moving from one job to another more frequently. Working 40 years for the same company becomes very rare and even a permanent job is no longer the standard. Because of this change, the learner becomes responsible for his own personal development and carrier, forcing the L&D department to take on a much more facilitating role.

Learning on the job

Learning in a corporate environment is not (just) about gathering knowledge, but it is about being able todo things or to do things differently and to perform better. There is more and more awareness about this fact and therefore the trend to learn while doing your job becomes far more important. Instead of taking an official class or an e-Learning course provided by the L&D department, people will just check a best practice, use and performance management tool or a short learning nugget (small course) created by a co-worker.

The age of internet

People are used to getting an answer on a question immediately. Thanks to sites like Google you can find the answer to almost any question within seconds. They expect the same when it concerns a question related to work. Scheduling a face to face training or logging into your LMS in order to find that answer isn’t really what they are looking for.

Speed of change

It is not only that our world is changing, but the speed with which it is changing increases by the second. In the old days the production of a course or a face to face training could easily take up to 3 to 6 months. If you do that these days, your course will be outdated before you have it published. It needs to be faster. This is possible with forms of social learning or user generated learning. Another reason why this trend is growing and growing.

70-20-10 in this perspective

70-20-10 is about the division of corporate learning into Experimental learning, Social learning and Formal learning. Research shows that 70% of the learning is experimental. By doing things (on the job) you will gain most of your knowledge and skills. The social learning (20%) is about learning from your colleagues (knowledge sharing) and only 10% is learned from formal learning (e.g. a face to face training, a course in an LMS). Traditionally L&D departments are very much focused on the formal part and need to focus more attention on the 70 and 20 part. This happens to coincide with the trends mentioned above. Learning becomes the responsibility of the learner not of the company. Therefore the 70-20-10 approach is gaining a lot of momentum.

Start with the 20 out of 70-20-10

As mentioned before, these trends put the L&D department in a facilitating role instead of a managing role. But if you are a learning organization focusing on the 10 (formal learning) with a top down approach what should your first step on this path be? And how difficult will it be to make that first step based on the 70-20-10 principle?

The answer is simple: start with the 20 (knowledge sharing, learning from your colleagues). Implement a social platform like Yammer, where people can ask questions and get answers from their colleagues. Or facilitate knowledge sharing by giving a simple video or authoring tool to all your employees so they can share their knowledge with their co-workers.

One of the advantages of an authoring tool is that you can track and trace results of learners and courses and that way measure the effectivity of it . We call this kind of knowledge sharing: User Generat ed Learning. We have quite some experience with this and found that it can be a great first step inimplementing 70-20-10.

Other useful links:

Everything you need to know about SCORM:

7 Musts you need to know when starting with e-learning software

Everything you need to know on scaling learning within your company with user generated content