70:20:10 Model : Q&A

Hello all E-Learning Heroes,

I have a question about the 70:20:10 model which was used by Charles Jennings as a strategic model in Reuters back in 2002 and now seems to be used by many companies. (Apparently)

Just to explain it to anyone who doesn't know what I'm talking about it works like this:

70% of learning is through experience and practice of doing you job

20% is from other people (And/or the boss)

10% is formal.

Although that simplified it a bit and I'm still learning how it works.

This youtube link helps: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6WX11iqmg0

My Questions:

Have you seen this model in use in companies?

Is it still in use in the current business climate?

Is it effective in reality?

I'm asking as a humble assistant learner. Not quite sure how to give cheesecake rewards through the forum yet...


12 Replies
Bruce Graham

Funnily enough - I just finished a small training video on it today


70-20-10 is a bit like the Pirate's Code - "...It's more of a guideline..." - in that ratios can vary, but the main point is to drive home the fact that "training" seldom works, you need pre and post-training support and guidance in the workplace.

This is the hard bit - but it is where you, as an ID, can add your value.

I am currently rolling out this principle In a client I have been with for 4 years now - it took a while to get there, but it all makes sense to them, (especially in the financial world of today where expensive 2-3 day training courses cannot always be justified).

Steve Flowers

I see this as a frame. Simply a way to examine the things we do to help people and challenge prevailing wisdom. The numbers really depend a lot on the type of organization, the type of job, how long you've been in the job, etc..

I'm not a fan of set numbers since there are plenty of folks that take things way too literally. But for reasonably level-headed folks, frames like this can be great conversation starters. "Let's look at this another way." Just be careful not to get hung up on a single frame

Steve Flowers

This frame, and its derivatives, are helpful to drive discussion around natural learning flows within an organization. I think trying to shoehorn an organization into the model as an exercise could be counterproductive. As a conversation starter, I think these can be really helpful. As a formula for success, not so much.

Here are some other ways to represent the "centers of energy" where value is delivered in the learning organization (assuming that all employees are stakeholders and learning organisms that contribute to the structure). 





These are nice theoretical ways to get from point A to point B. Sometimes they match reality, other times they don't. As long as you maintain a healthy amount of skepticism, models like this are helpful.

Cary Glenn

I have a couple of issues with the 70-20-10 model.

First, generally I never trust models that round off to nice whole numbers. Reality doesn't work that way, it would be more believable it the numbers were 68.3-17.8-13.9.

Second, I don't see how reading falls into formal learning.

Third, it is not alwasy an appropriate to learn on the job. I don't want a paramedic learning how to intubate me on the job. They need to be competent prior to doing it in the field.

Donald Clark has some thoughts on the subject. http://nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/media/70-20-10.html

I see the point of 70-20-10, in that it emphasizes that learning is not something just done in the classroom or at your computer when you have time, but is done all the time and that we need to be constantly learning and practicing.

Bruce Graham

Nancy Connell said:

I think it's ironic that they used a formal, structured eLearning presentation with animated text and clip art to teach us about informal learning.

LOL - that's why I TRIED to do something different.

Listen...I'm not saying it's perfect, but in the correct place it IS a paradigm shifter.

My current client needs something that SOUNDS good, is easy to remember, and which can be implemented with (of course) certain provisos. But the point is...it takes them out of the TRAINING...TRAINING...TRAINNIG mindset, which is sorely needed.

Sheila Bulthuis

I agree with those who have pointed out that the point of a model like this is to give a frame of reference. And although it was actually developed for leadership training/development, it can be a useful paradigm to consider for other types of employee development.  In fact, I've often referred to this model when talking about development plans: A development plan should not be made up only of formal learning.  Learning and can and should happen in other ways, so why not try to make those other ways as effective as possible?  Purposely put people on projects where they can learn/improve a skill "on the job.; giv managers tools to help them give feedback; etc.