70:20:10 – The Learning Approach for Today’s World

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What is 70:20:10 Learning?

It’s a relatively new learning and development model addressing how adults best adapt and learn things. Based largely on research carried out since the 1960’s and later quantified by representatives from the Centre for Creative Leadership in 1996, which means that:

  • 70% of learning comes from direct experience and working out the “tougher jobs”

  • 20% comes from coaches, bosses or co-workers

  • 10% comes from reading, self-learning and structured learning

 

While these ratios are not exact, there is substantial evidence that supports this distribution. In fact, many organisations are now stepping forward with demonstrative evidence showing their employees learn and apply creative solutions more quickly when they’ve employed this learning approach. This shift in learning could be just what your organisation needs to grow its competitive advantage.

 

The value of the 70:20:10 Learning model

The 70:20:10 model is of greatest value for organisations seeking to maximise the effectiveness of their learning, and development programs utilising an accelerated feedback loop process to allow people to select the most appropriate learning for each individual situation. The model continues to be widely employed by organisations throughout the world and in its adapted form in The Learning Tree.

  • The model’s creators hold that hands-on experience (the 70 percent) is the most beneficial for employees because it enables them to discover and refine their job-related skills, make decisions, address challenges and interact with influential people such as bosses and mentors within work settings. They also learn from their mistakes and receive immediate feedback on their performance.

  • Employees learn from others (the 20 percent) through a variety of activities that include social learning, coaching, mentoring, collaborative learning, expert networking and other methods of interaction with peers. Encouragement and feedback are prime benefits of this valuable learning approach.

  • The formula holds that only 10 percent of professional development optimally comes from formal traditional courseware instruction and other educational events, a position that typically surprises practitioners from academic backgrounds.

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Accelerated learning

This is more than just a social learning model, The Learning Tree’s 70:20:10 blends learning opportunities in a way that maximizes experiential aspects and expedites learning speed and quality. The blend allows for structured learning, learning from others and experiential learning which includes videos, resources and tools that assist the accelerate the learning process. The accelerated feedback loop enable our members to focus on the most important stuff and not wasting their time on the so-called classroom but takes them directly into the field or a hands-on learning environment.

It is taking traditional learning approaches and revolutionise the approaches by turning them upside down. Instead of significant time invested in classroom courses, this approach creates learning that is highly experiential in the field. We learn best by experience, and the more experience we have, the higher the quality and quantity of learning resulting in quicker response to individual and organisational performance.

 

This model improves organisational performance

The 70:20:10 development model approach also aligns very well with a paramount corporate need, the need to learn at the speed of business change. Better yet, it can be applied to management and leadership development, safety training, or operations, finance and maintenance training as well.

While traditional training calls for hours of classroom and reading, this approach is considerably more streamlined for instant satisfaction. It provides experiences the learner can quickly integrate and refine. Learners are placed in settings that drive interactive experiences and promote the act of learning. Internships are used strategically throughout the process to provide greater capabilities.

 

This model deals with an ageing workforce

As the industry faces an ageing workforce crisis, many organisations are looking for ways to transfer learning as quickly as possible. In this model, technical and maintenance personnel are introduced to critical safety and knowledge elements in a classroom setting first, and then they’re rapidly moved to hands-on labs and exercises simulating a real-world environment.

This gives learners a safe environment in which to practice skills and processes, and tasks can be made more difficult and complex as the learning continues. Using 70:20:10, learners are demonstrating a higher application of skills immediately in the workplace, the transfer of critical skills and knowledge is more complete, and they are moved from the classroom to the actual operating environment quicker.

 

This model reduces your training costs

Applying this learning model can also significantly reduce your overall training costs over time. By restructuring how you train and focusing the training on more experiential aspects in the workplace, classroom and course ware costs can be reduced. Ultimately, this model accelerates your company’s operational performance.

By providing a learning culture embracing informal and social learning styles and shifting your organisation’s training budget, you might be surprised with the speed of adoption and its significant, positive impact on your organisation.

 

How relevant is the 70:20:10 model in the Internet age?

For sure the 70:20:10 model is still relevant, but you should understand that the new generation entrepreneur, business owner or employee profile looks very much different than that of people from yesteryear. As I tried to make my point above it will remain a very valuable learning approach for us in the future, but it requires modification to adapt it to the new generation organisation of the future.

I will be writing a series of blogs on the impact of millennial’s on the 70:20:10 model and how you can adapt it to the new generation employee. What is your opinion of this approach to the current situation in your business, are you using it or something similar, how is it working for you, send us your comments?