70:20:10 model: Practical applications in L&D

When you are at work and have a task that is completely new, what do you do? Do you attempt your own research? Maybe you ask the co-worker sitting next to you for advice?

By Kasper Spiro on Aug 16th


According to the 70:20:10 model for learning and development, we know exactly how the majority of learning in the workplace is made up:

  • 70% – experiential learning – skills are learned and developed simply doing the job on a day-to-day basis.
  • 20% – social learning – skills can be attained by working with others and collaborating with colleagues.
  • 10% – formal learning – skills are learned in a formal setting such as a training course.

There are actually two 70:20:10 models that businesses use – one for management innovation and another for learning and development. Today, we will be focusing on the learning and development model developed by McCall, Lombardo and Morrison in the 1980s. Let’s look at this learning model in further detail.

Implementing 70:20:10 in your learning and development

70% Experiential Learning

Ultimately, performance support is the key component for this largest section and this involves employees referencing something whilst on the job. In truth, there are some things that you can do to enhance this particular section.

Firstly, you have to ensure that you have the right learning management tools in place. For example, you will be able to assess all sorts of important data and analytics if you invest in the right performance support and this can be essential. Also, you may also see the benefit after making various tools and resources available on mobile. If you have this in place, you will be utilizing this 70% and allowing your employees to learn and develop skills at an efficient rate. Here’s an extensive guide on how employees in enterprises like Nielsen encourage experimental learning.

20% Social Learning

Naturally, employees will discuss work and help each other so you don’t necessarily have to force anything out of the ordinary. With this being said, there are ways in which you can encourage it by fostering the right atmosphere within your business and by selecting a learning management system that allows for knowledge sharing.

10% Formal Learning

Finally, we have the smallest section in official training. When assessing the 70:20:10 model, many believe that it is trying to dissuade people from using training courses and the like but this simply isn’t true. With just 10%, it doesn’t mean that there should be no training at all, it suggests that there should be more of a focus on the quality of training rather than quantity.

Furthermore, formal training can be seen as a platform from which the other two types of learning can grow. As long as the 10% is solid, the social and experiential learning has more chance of success and you should notice a difference.

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About the author

Kasper Spiro is the CEO of Easygenerator and a recognized thought leader in the world of e-learning. With over 30 years of experience, he is a frequently asked keynote speaker and well-renowned blogger within the e-learning community.

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