The 70:20:10 model for learning and development originates from research carried out in the 1980s. In the 1994 book Career Architect Development Planner, data from a Centre for Creative Leadership (CCL) study was published which revealed that the lessons learned by effective managers are 70% from tough jobs, 20% from people, and 10% from courses and reading.
The percentages within this study are the reason behind the 70:20:10 name.
"The 70:20:10 framework is fast becoming the preferred strategy to improve workplace performance." says Charles Jennings, Duntroon Associates and founder of the 70:20:10 Forum. "It is applicable across all sectors and organisations, regardless of size, because of its holistic and agile nature. "
Regardless of whether the 70:20:10 framework becomes the preferred strategy for learning as Jennings says, though, it is still a sound concept and one that any organisation can employ.
Continuous Learning is the goal of 70:20:10
As Jennings says in one of his blog posts, most people get it with continuous learning, but some don't.
Classes, webinars, courses, and other structured learning events are simply cogs in a wheel in a much larger world of learning and development. The roles of direct and structured learning can and do play an important role in organisational learning, but to create a culture of learning that promotes continuous learning, an organisation needs to think beyond structured learning. Simply, organisations need to think outside of the box, but this can be unsettling for organisations with a culture of structured learning.
When you consider the very foundations of 70:20:10, that the majority of learning comes through experience, you can begin to understand why we at Wranx refer to continuous learning as the goal of 70:20:10; experiences within the workplace are continuous for the time of employment and they occur every second of every minute of every hour of every working day. Perhaps, then, the growing popularity of 70:20:10 stems from the need for modern organisations to have an effective culture of learning, for even if they don't see it as a continuous learning strategy, it performs as one.
But as Jo Faragher notes in 70:20:10 – a model approach for learning?, while organisations claim to have embraced 70:20:10, few can actually demonstrate it. “They are so immersed in the training model, or at least a content delivery model, that they struggle to figure out ways to promote and harness informal learning, especially experiential learning,” comments Paul Matthews, managing director and founder of People Alchemy, on Personnel Today's Discuss L&D LinkedIn forum.
So how should you go about introducing 70:20:10 to your organisation?
The idea with 70:20:10 is to remove the vast majority of structured learning from the learning process and to move toward a mindset where focusing on experience is more valuable. This will of course be unsettling at first, but it's worth it when it comes to creating a culture of learning for the future.
Most organisations are going to need to change their culture of learning drastically to fully accommodate 70:20:10 and for it to be truly effective. A good way to introduce this to employees is to create a video demonstration around the 70:20:10 concept which shows employees that learning does not just come from sitting in classes, webinars, and courses, and a video that demonstrates what direction the organisation is going to take in the future.
Having a culture of learning means truly adopting a learning process and weaving it within the very fabric of the workplace.