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What is the 70:20:10 model?

70:20:10 definition

The 70:20:10 Model, often referred to as the 70:20:10 Rule, is a widely recognised framework in the field of Learning and Development (L&D). It is used to guide the allocation of time and resources for different types of learning experiences in order to maximise the effectiveness of employee development.

The model suggests that learning and development occur through a combination of three key components:

70% Experiential Learning: This component emphasises the importance of hands-on experiences, real-world challenges, and learning from one's day-to-day work. It involves learning by doing, taking on new tasks, and reflecting on the outcomes.

20% Social Learning: This facet underscores the significance of learning from others through interactions, collaboration, and feedback. It involves activities such as mentoring, coaching, peer discussions, and participating in communities of practice.

10% Formal Learning: This element encompasses structured and formal learning interventions, such as workshops, courses, seminars, and e-learning modules. It provides foundational knowledge and skills necessary for an individual's growth.

70:20:10 example

Let's consider an example of a new software developer, Alex, who is striving to enhance their programming skills using the 70-20-10 Model:

70% (Experiential Learning): Alex spends the majority of their time working on real coding projects within their team. They encounter various challenges, experiment with different coding techniques, and learn from their successes and failures.

20% (Social Learning): Alex actively participates in the weekly coding club where experienced developers share their insights, techniques, and experiences. They also engage in pair programming sessions, where they collaboratively solve coding problems with a more senior developer.

10% (Formal Learning): To solidify their foundational programming knowledge, Alex enrols in an online programming course. The course covers essential programming concepts and provides Alex with a structured learning experience.


Is the 70:20:10 Model universally applicable?

While the model has gained widespread acceptance, its application can vary based on factors like the nature of the industry, the individual's learning style, and the organisation's culture. The percentages are not rigid, but rather a guideline to inform a balanced approach to learning and development.

Can formal learning be entirely replaced by experiential and social learning?

The 10% dedicated to formal learning remains valuable for introducing foundational knowledge and structured skill-building. However, the model suggests that a significant portion of learning should occur through experiential and social means to foster practical skills and contextual understanding.

How can organisations implement the 70:20:10 Model effectively?

Organisations can integrate the model by creating opportunities for experiential learning (projects, stretch assignments), facilitating social learning (mentoring, cross-functional teams), and offering formal learning options (workshops, online courses). Regular assessments and feedback loops can help individuals and organisations gauge the impact of this approach.

What are the benefits of using the 70:20:10 Model?

The model encourages continuous learning, aligns development with real-world demands, promotes collaboration and knowledge sharing, and allows individuals to apply learning directly to their roles. This holistic approach tends to result in well-rounded and adaptable employees.

Remember that the 70-20-10 Model is a flexible guideline, not a strict rule. Customising its application to an organisation's specific needs and a learner's preferences is key to its successful implementation in Learning and Development initiatives.

LMS / Glossary

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