The 70:20:10 learning theory explained

70:20:10 is a learning theory that was created in the 1980s and is widely thought of as the most reliable roadmap to optimised learning. It breaks down the sources of learning into:

70% acquired knowledge as a result of job related experience

20% of learning from interactions with others at work

10% of learning as a result of formal training, courses and events

This isn’t perhaps what many people would view as the traditional view of learning in the workplace, particularly with such a small percentage of formal training involved. However, time and time again this model has proven to be demonstrative of how human beings actually engage best with learning in the workplace and that’s why it has had such longevity.

Maxmimising the effectiveness of learning and development

The resources involved in employee learning and development often put pressure on businesses, not just to justify that spend but also to be able to produce proof of a return on the investment. When it comes to maximising the effectiveness of learning and development resources, the 70:20:10 model delivers a lot of value and is widely used by businesses, large and small, all over the world.

The importance of the 70%

The 70:20:10 model clearly places most of the emphasis on hands-on experience as the most effective way for employees to learn. There are plenty of positive arguments to support this theory – employees who learn on the job are given feedback in context, have the opportunity to apply it and learn from mistakes. Challenges and interactions take place on a daily basis with input and influence from managers and mentors. Plus, there is the opportunity to continuously refine the skills and abilities that form part of the role that the employee is doing.

Maximising the impact of training through other activities and inputs

Only 10% of the 70:20:10 model applies to formal training, courses and events. This may sound like an unbalanced perspective for businesses looking to improve staff experience, engagement and ability via better training. However, the reality is that the 70:20:10 model uses the other 90% to enhance the effectiveness of the training and instruction that is being delivered in a more traditional or formalised way. For example, the 20% of learning that comes from interaction could be as a result of mentoring, coaching or collaborative learning that has been developed within the business to optimise the impact of the more formal learning schemes.

70:20:10 model and the internet age

Although the 70:20:10 model dates back to the 1980s, when it comes to workplace learning today these ratios still have a great deal of relevance. They are still consistent with the developmental experiences of many individuals, even though training technologies and methods are moving to more informal and mobile learning. For many businesses, integrating this model – alongside an LMS that embraces video learning or e-learning, for example – could be the key to learning and development in the workplace that is modern, effective and engaged.

If you’d like to know more about the true 70:20:10 model of workplace learning please get in touch with Enterprise Study today on 01242 254 254.

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