A practical perspective on 70:20:10
When you are working in corporate learning you are probably being bombarded with trends like: Informal learning, social learning, workplacelearning, 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?
Changes in organizational learning
These trends are all addressing the same underlying change: 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.
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.
Easygenerator and 70:20:10
Easygenerator is an authoring tool focusing on people who do not have an e-Learning background. Our goal is that anyone can login without any prior knowledge of Easygenerator and is able to create a course, a quiz, an e-book or a curated document without any training. This makes it an ideal tool for employees to share their knowledge with.
This will not work for us? Objections!
There are of course many options for User generated learning. Of course a lot of my knowledge comes from my own Easygenerator experience, so I will share that with you. Companies that like the idea of User Generated learning are uncertain about this; will my organization embrace this idea? How many people will actually start creating content, how do I control quality and more questions like that. Is there a good return on investment? Will the entire 70:20:10 principle work for me? I will try to address these issues.
How do I ensure that the content is correct?
That is an interesting question with very different answers per organization. There are organizations that choose a really free format for this. We interviewed J.D. Dillon who was the learning manager of Kaplan when they switched to User Generated Learning. They allowed people to create and publish content freely. No control at all, only their name and contact info were published as well. This had two effects: People will think twice before publishing something incorrect. And when it happens it will be corrected by their peers in sort of the same way as Wikipedia works. Other companies follow a more formal, controlled process. They have an Instructional designer collaborating with the SME or the SME has to send their creation to the L&D department for a check. After the control (and if necessary some adjustments) the content is published into the corporate LMS.
SME’s do not have any didactical knowledge and therefore they cannot create effective e-Learning. The first part is partially correct; they don’t. At Easygenerator we try to address that issue in a couple of ways. First we have built in a simple didactical concept:
- Start with learning objectives
- Construct the assessment to check if the objectives are reached by your learner
- Only create content that the learner needs to know in order to answer these questions, no more.
We see that if SMEs follow this route, they will create much less content heavy courses and deliver courses that are more effective.
We are developing an online coach. Based on the content created by the SME we will send in app instructions and hints on how to make improvements. This way there is an online coach helping through the complete process.
You can’t use user generated content for compliance training or security training
That is not correct. With compliance training and security training you have to be able to prove that your employees know the rules. This is not about the learning, but it is about the assessment. In this case you need a certified and correct assessment. The training on the compliance rules can be done with user generated learning. It even gives a lot of advantages. Instead of just the rules, people will write about the best practices connected to these rules as well, they will give a practical perspective on these topics. Making the content more attractive to the learner and resulting in better compliance in your company. In Easygenerator authors can even work together on the course creation. It is very easy to have an instructional designer working together with a SME or a group of SMEs, this way ensuring the content is correct.
Sme’s do not have the time for this
SMEs and especially your top experts on certain topics will be busy. But these are also the people colleagues turn to for questions, these are also the people you involve in the creation of centralized created content. The time they will spend capturing their knowledge in a course or a curation document will be way less than the time they spend on these activities right now. And there is a second point. In larger organizations (especially those with offices in many countries) these experts will do the same work, at the same time in different places. Think about the time they can save, if you can replace this with a couple of courses created once.
Where do I publish this kind of knowledge?
There are many options. Some companies choose to put a part of the material on their website or intranet or in a wiki. Making publication and access very easy. Others choose to have a more formal approach and publish in their corporate LMS. A tool like Easygenerator can create output fitting to any of these tools, so it is really up to you and your companies’ requirements.
I don’t want to go through all the hassle with the ICT department in deploying and maintaining new software. It will take ages and a lot of money. Not with Easygenerator, we are completely cloud based, no installation on your side is necessary. You can start without any ICT preparations within minutes. All updates, support and bug fixes are included in the services. No extra charges.
SaaS is not secure
Content in the cloud is a big security risk, ready to be hacked. I’m afraid nothing in this world is a 100% secure but I truly do believe that our SaaS solution is more secure than most ‘behind the firewall’ solutions. Here are the reasons:
- We use the Amazon cloud with all Amazon security measures. On top of that we added our own security. This is being evaluated and updated on a weekly basis, making it very secure. Compare that with your own internal IT department. Many of them running on operating systems that are not even supported anymore by Microsoft and the list with security issues is listed on the web.
- Email is the most dangerous thing. How is your writing and review process organized now? Do you create your content in a stand-alone application on your PC (no viruses or malware?). When you are done your content needs to be reviewed by colleagues and SMEs. You probably email them the file. This is really the most dangerous thing to do. Email is not secure at all, your content is exposed in a way you do not want. With Easygenerator all content always stays within the secure boundaries of our cloud server. Want to invite someone for a review. That is built in into our app. You send them a link and the reviewer can login to the course for review. And all that time the content stay on the same save place.
Return on investment?
The summary is that there are in fact no good reasons not to explore user generated learning, on the other hand there are many reason to start exploring it. So that is decided, but what about costs and return on investments? Is your organization ready for this, will SMEs participate, will they deliver valuable content and will you be able to save a lot of money by creating less courses with your L&D department or third parties?
At Easygenerator we do understand that you need to have answers on these questions before making a final decision on this. So here is how we usually do this. We start with a six month trial, an unlimited license for every employee in your organization. We do this at very low costs (between a $ 1000 to 2000 per month for the trial period –depending on the potential number of users). During this trial we will work together with you to make trial successful. We will co-host webinars, set up Q&A sessions, write blogs or participate in your program in any way that ads value. And we will gather data. How many of your colleagues create an account, how many times do they login, how many courses do they create and publish), how many learners are using these courses and with which results? Based on this data you will be able to make a proper decision to continue or not after the pilot and you will also have a much better insight in the added value for your organization. We will also have a much better understanding on how this works in your organization, this allows us to create a proposal that really fits your needs.