70 20 10 Learning Model and Framework What is the 70 20 10 learning model?
70 20 10 learning model is a broadly recognised learning model in the business learning environment, but just because lots of people have heard of the 70 20 10 learning model doesn’t mean it’s valid!
The basic premise of the 70-20-10 learning model offered up by Morgan McCall https://www.marshall.usc.edu/faculty/directory/mmccall and his colleagues in the 1990’s was that managers learned – 70-2-10
- 70% from challenging workplace assignments
- 20% from relationships at work
- 10% from formal training
Common sense suggests that we will learn from a variety of sources. We know from Hermann Ebbinghaus https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermann_Ebbinghaus and Professor John Dunlosky https://www.kent.edu/psychology/profile/john-dunlosky that the way the brain learns most effectively is through repetition over intervals (spaced learning) and constant self-testing. I guess you could describe “challenging workplace assignments” as repetition and self-testing.
There has been a lot of criticism aimed at the 70 20 10 learning model not least because the neat division along decimal lines is simply too good to be true. Also that the research was based on managers own self-assessment – a notoriously inaccurate methodology.
Despite these obvious weaknesses I think that the theory still holds water. OK, so maybe the numbers aren’t exactly 70 20 10 and maybe the numbers actually differ from learner to learner, but the basic premise that employees learn more from the informal that the formal works for me.
Trouble is what do they learn? By that I mean have they learned good stuff or bad stuff? Have they learned knowledge and skills that will improve their performance in the workplace through 70 20 10 and if so, how does the L&D team know? Self-assessment by the manager herself is, as we know, unreliable and often wildly inaccurate. No guarantees of knowledge retention.
Undoubtedly what is required to leverage the 70 20 10 learning theory is a mechanism for continual assessment of the manger, but in a gentle and unobtrusive way.
Clever Nelly from Elephants don’t forget, not only provides continual gentle, non-critical assessment of your employees but also leverages the proven best learning strategies to ensure that your workforce learns what you have taught them and know to be effective. Rather than perhaps what they have learned on-the-job from their colleagues – which may or may not be what you deem optimal content!