The 70:20:10 model is essential knowledge for anyone in the field of learning and development. It highlights that learning extends beyond formal settings like classrooms or online courses.

Let’s explore how it works in more detail.

What is the 70:20:10 model?

The 70:20:10 model for learning and development is based on the principle that:

  • 70% of learning comes from ‘on-the-job’ experiences. This can be anything from repeating tasks to reflecting on learning and experimenting with different tasks and processes.
  • 20% of learning comes from ‘social learning’: Working with colleagues and other individuals, as well as group work and feedback.
  • 10% of learning comes from ‘formal learning’: Planned learning solutions, such as eLearning courses, face-to-face sessions and webinars.

For L and D professionals, the focus is on crafting courses that foster a culture and mindset of continuous learning, extending well beyond traditional educational settings. This approach encourages learners to engage with and apply their knowledge in everyday work situations.

Step 1: Formal Learning

Formal learning consists of deliberate and structured educational interventions. It’s eLearning courses, company training days and so on. And although formal learning only makes up 10% of someone’s learning, it doesn’t mean it’s unimportant.

Planned learning can help stimulate someone’s learning, engage them in their development and promote a learning mentality that lasts long after an online course or training session has finished.

Whether in-person or online, look for ways to engage your audience in your learning. Instructor-led training lends itself to breakout rooms and opening up questions to the audience, but with online courses, you may need to be more creative to get learners thinking.

Consider using animated branched scenarios, software simulations and video content to maintain your learners’ attention. Software like Articulate Storyline and Vyond are ideal for creating this type of content.

Step 2: Social learning

According to the 70:20:10 rule, 20% of learning is social. This means learning from others and our environment.

Psychologist Albert Bandura combined cognitive learning theory (which states learning is influenced by psychological factors) and behavioural learning theory (the idea that learning is based on responses to environmental stimuli) to create social learning.

Bandura’s social learning theory has four key requirements of learning:

  1. Observation
  2. Retention
  3. Reproduction
  4. Motivation

A great example of social learning is baseball. Even if you have never swung a baseball bat in your life, you’d probably know what to do with it if you were handed one and told to hit a ball. This is because you’ve observed the practice on the TV, retained the knowledge, repeated what you’ve seen, and been motivated to do so (even if that motivation is just because you’ve been told to).

So, how can we incorporate social learning into our strategies as digital learning professionals?

There’s a common misconception that social learning requires in-person interaction, but this isn’t the case. Our previous example demonstrates that social learning can happen in various ways. It plays a crucial role in helping organisations adopt a flexible approach to learning. This involves simply creating a culture where employees are encouraged to learn and develop.

Using your LMS for Social Learning

Your learning platform or LMS is the hub of all learning content in your organisation. So, it’s a great place to start implementing social learning. An LMS, like Docebo, comes with built-in forums, allowing learners to communicate with each other and ask their peers questions. This is a great way to facilitate social learning in your organisation, easily and cost-effectively.

Learner created content

Allowing your learners to create learning content is a great way to facilitate social learning. Empowering employees by letting them record demos, lectures, webinars, and calls is not only a great way to boost morale, but also to increase the learning culture in your organisation. In turn, your employees are learning from one another and increasing the efficiency of learning in your organisation.

Step 3: On-the-job learning

The final step of the 70:20:10 model is ‘on-the-job’ learning. According to the 702010 Institute, this includes activities such as problem-solving, tackling challenging tasks, conducting audits or reviews, innovating, and reflecting. These activities are typically independent learning experiences.

As a learning designer, the question arises: how can you facilitate and enhance this type of learning? Your role involves creating resources and environments that support and encourage these independent, on-the-job learning experiences, ensuring they are effective and impactful.

Implement a digital adoption solution

A digital adoption solution is a piece of software designed to help users learn while working. This tool works in the background and can help users with frustrations or blockers.

Whereas a software simulation or eLearning course might be considered formal learning, a digital adoption solution is user-driven learning and doesn’t interrupt someone’s day-to-day work. This makes it an effective tool for continuous, real-time learning and problem-solving.

Learning in the flow of work

In 2010, Gottfredson and Mosher identified five moments when people learn, these moments are when learners are:

  1. Learning something new
  2. Learning more on a topic they already have basic knowledge of
  3. Applying knowledge they’ve learnt
  4. Trying to solve a problem
  5. Trying to make a change

‘On-the-job’ learning will fall into two of these moments when our learners are applying knowledge or trying to solve a problem. As learning designers, we can create ‘just-in-time’ learning content to help in these moments.

Designing ‘just-in-time’ content

Just-in-time content does as it says on the tin. It teaches your learners the key facts they need to know in the exact moment of need. According to CEB research, 57% of employees expect learning to be ‘just-in-time’ or ‘as needed’.

Most just-in-time content has two key features:

  • It’s short and gets straight to the point
  • It’s available on many devices (especially mobile!)

The secret to effectively designing and planning just-in-time content is to map out your learner’s day-to-day roles, highlight stumbling blocks, and create content that helps them overcome these challenges.

To maximise the effectiveness of content, it’s crucial that users can easily access it. A cumbersome, multi-step login process could deter them from utilising the resource. This will encourage your learners to turn to public forums, such as YouTube or Google, which could lead to mistakes. Depending on the task, these mistakes could be disastrous for your organisation. Learning platforms with a good mobile app and single sign-on are a great way to overcome this.

70:20:10 Summary

So, there you have it – a three-step process to optimise your learning with the 70:20:10 model.

If you’d like to know how Omniplex Guide can help your team optimise the delivery of your learning content, get in touch or book a free product tour.