In recent years the 70:20:10 approach to workplace learning has become increasingly popular. But is it about more than just blending on and off the job training?
Common descriptions say that it is 70% on the job, 20% coaching and 10% from courses, but is that really the case? And is it a universal tool?
History of the model
The 70:20;10 model is usually credited with developing or popularizing this approach were Morgan McCall and his colleagues working at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL). Two of McCall’s colleagues, Michael M. Lombardo and Robert W. Eichinger, published data from one CCL study in their 1996 book The Career Architect Development Planner.
It blends on-the-job, coaching and on-the-job experiences together.
- About 70% of learning is by using challenging assignments and on-the-job experiences.
- About 20% of learning is developed through relationships, networks, and feedback.
- About 10% of the learning is delivered via formal training processes.
McCall, Lombardo and Eichinger’s survey of high-performing managers revealed that:
“Lessons learned by successful and effective managers are roughly:
- 70% from tough jobs
- 20% from people (mostly the boss)
- 10% from courses and reading”
We can see that the 70% is not just about on-the-job training that many purport, but from tough or challenging jobs and projects. In addition the 10% is not just from courses, but knowledge from a range of sources, books, e-learning etc.
Turning a model into a strategy
The implementation of this into a more generalised learning & development strategic approach is based on the work of Charles Jennings in 2002 when working for Reuters –
Since this time, many organizations looking for a justification to reduce the costs of training, and increase the importance of “manager as a coach”. This simplistic approach seemed like the ideal approach, most training (70%) is “doing the day job”, 20% is managers coaching peoples development, and just 10% of training on courses.
At one level this is a useful framework for organizations to follow, but if an organization is doing this to achieve the results of the original study into highly effective managers and leaders, then they are missing some of the key points that made the strategy successful
Applying the 70:20:10
Where this is done “in reverse”, we can apply this as good practice…
For example, identify a need, undertake some coaching by the line manager. Then attend a formal course or workshop (10%), followed by a blend of coaching and on-the-job experience to both apply learning on-the-job, and with coaching to help transfer the new skills
So if you are looking at using a course or other formal learning strategy, complement it with support and development back in the job