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Is 70:20:10 a practical approach or merely just a bunch of numbers?

    The 70-20-10 model is principally constructed from a conceptual theory     developed by Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger in 2000.Some people say that the model still applies in today’s day and age and adhering to this     model is essential for the successful execution of learning and development     strategies of any organisation.

    The figures in the model were generated from a relatively small study     carried out at the center for Creative Leadership in the USA more than 30     years ago. They concluded that the percentage of lessons learned were as     follows;

        
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                70% from tough jobs and practical activities.         

        
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                20% from informal learning through human interaction.         

        
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                10% from formal learning including courses and reading.         

        

    This means that, according to this model, people get the bulk (70%) of     their knowledge and develop skills from on-the-job learning rather than     formal training.

    Is this model merely a theoretical concept, or is there evidence to prove     it actually exists and works?

    It can be said that the main reason why the 70-20-10 model is not easily     transferable to the average learning and daily work flows that occur in     organisations is because the ratio of informal to formal learning varies     depending on the context.

    For example, Pontefract’s 3;33 model of pervasive learning presents some     alternative ratios on how learning and development takes place. This model     suggests;

        
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                33% of learning is from social user-generated content and             life-experiences.         

        
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                33% informal learning from mentoring and coaching via senior             employees/ employers.         

        
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                33% formal classroom/course based learning         

        

    Furthermore, researchers have found that while the three learning methods     outlined in the studies are valid, organisations that attempted to employ     the model in a more rigorous way by sticking to the exact figures had     significantly less success than those who chose a more flexible approach     with the statistics and used 70:20:10 just as a very broad guideline.

    It can therefore be said that the most effective way of using the model is     not to look at the numbers themselves but rather the learning methods that     have been identified. This is supported by Nigel Paine who said “some     learning and development people go around saying, ’oh yes, we’re doing     70:20:10’ without actually getting at changing the learning itself.

    Learning in Practise

    When it comes to learning and development, most employees prefer to have a     wide range of activities to choose from. It is useful to look at each     specific area and consider the activities that can support development.     This will improve the retention of learning that takes place instead of     focusing on how much or what percentage of each type of learning is taking     place.

    E.g. Activities employees would like to see incorporated in their learning     and development.

    In the past, there was either classroom based training or online training     now technology has enabled us to create blended learning courses which has     not only amalgamated formal and informal learning but has provided HR     managers with the platform to better deliver effective learning and     development. This has meant that workforce development is now progressing     from the mere theoretical concept of 70:20:10 and/or any other researched     figures into more practical and scenario based teaching both online and     offline. My Learning Hub is an industry leading provider of blended     learning training and acknowledges the importance of tailoring training to     meet the individual needs of each organisation’s employees.