Shape Your Learning With the 70:20:10 Model

by Jul 15, 2019Articles

Everyone is talking about the 70:20:10 model, but what is it and how can it be used to enhance your training program? 


70:20:10 model is a common model in the training, learning and development space that observes how training is sourced and absorbed among learners.  Based on this model, learning and development (L&D) professionals shape their approach by combining formal and informal training techniques.

The framework originated more than 40 years ago when a number of studies were developed to carefully monitor how successful managers learn to do their jobs.  This research revealed which techniques generated higher performance outcomes and increased effectiveness.


The Rationale Behind 70:20:10


The model is based on the following theory:

70% of learning is gained on the job. Learning by doing in a real-life environment allows users to learn from their mistakes and receive immediate feedback.

20% of learning comes from interacting with and observing others. This can be in a collaborative learning environment, via social learning or by coaching and mentoring.

10% of learning comes from a formal educational event, including via traditional instructor led training (ILT).

Think of a learning event you were involved in, perhaps something recent or from years ago. You may have joined a course or one-day class in which you took notes and interacted with the instructor. However, unless you practice the new skills immediately, much of the acquired knowledge will not be retained. It’s not until you are on the job and performing the task on a regular basis, receiving feedback from others, and learning from mistakes, that you become competent.

A recent study by Towards Maturity, an independent, not-for-profit, business transformation consultancy, showed that by following the 70:20:10 model, staff are much more likely to adapt to business change. However, the study also found that currently, only 47% of L&D professionals use the model to shape their learning approach – despite 90% of staff saying that they would prefer to learn from their peers.


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