implementing a useful model – 70:20:10

The 70:20:10 framework is a useful model based on observations that generally, people learn 70% of what they need to do their job from experience. About 20% is learned from exposure to new tasks or environments. Only 10% is learned through formal education. These numbers are not firm but they provide a rule of thumb, especially for planning and resource allocation to support learning at work.

PKM-connectsThe most important aspect of 70:20:10 is that it requires leadership to hold the space so that workplace learning is connected through experience, exposure, and education.  Leaders have to promote learning and themselves master fast, relevant, and autonomous learning. There is no other way to address the many wicked problems facing us today. If work is learning and learning is the work, then leadership should be all about enabling learning. Holding space means protecting the boundaries so that people can work and learn.

Personal knowledge mastery is the core competency for each person working in the networked era. But organizations have to provide the support and remove barriers to learning. Leaders need to provide the space for learning.

One approach to supporting workplace learning, based on the 70:20:10 model, is for the organization to provide three types of enablers:

  • Tools: that workers are dependent upon to do their work
  • Skills: competencies to work independently
  • People: social structures to work interdependently with others, inside & outside the organization

Education can enhanced by first designing formal instruction through a process like Cathy Moore’s action mapping, instead of focusing on content delivery. Instructors can develop new skills by flipping their classrooms and focusing on engagement, not lectures. Participants can be more engaged in formal training when it is linked to their own personal learning network.

Exposure can be facilitated by enterprise social networks, so everyone can see what others are working on. The practice of narrating your work exposes people to more diverse opinions. But exposure often comes from others, so engaging people at all levels in practices like cognitive apprenticeship becomes necessary.

Work is learning and learning is the work. Social media are new languages, requiring new communication proficiency, but they help expand our social networks, enabling more loose connections and potential for innovative ideas. PKM is the discipline of engaging with our professional networks and creating a diverse source of information, knowledge, ideas, and opinions. In order to make sense of their experiences, people need to engage with communities of practice, consisting of mixed social ties, in order to test new ideas in a trusted space. Organizations can help to identify and support these communities, both inside and outside the enterprise.

I have described one relatively simple way to practically implement the 70:20:10 framework. There are many other possible approaches. If these methods make sense, you can learn more from the Moving to Social online workshop.

10 Responses to “implementing a useful model – 70:20:10”

  1. mark britz

    Excellent post Harold. I completely agree on the point of the significant role of leadership and the fact this is an organization level and not L&D level focus. I do however struggle with the idea of it being a model. Not that it is in itself is wrong, but that the idea of a model is oft interpreted differently by different people thus clouding things a bit. I see the relationship 702010 has to Wirearchy and believe that 702010 to is a principle, a simple truth which compliments org wirearchy

    • Harold Jarche

      I’m fine calling it a framework, principle, or rule of thumb. Model seemed like the simpler term so I used it. I see a model as a description of something that we can use as a simplified example of how things can work. Also, organizations can ‘model’ 70:20:10, as in follow it as an example.

  2. Bob Bertsch

    Thanks for the post, Harold. I really like what you wrote about leadership needing to promote learning. I think some people, especially managers, might have trouble distinguishing between supporting workplace learning and managing knowledge, something that can’t be done, as you wrote in a previous post. They either turn support into management or disengage from workplace learning, providing no leadership. Have you seen this happen in organizations?

    • Harold Jarche

      I see most organizations do not support learning as part of the work flow. Also, most senior executives are too busy attending meetings and dealing with daily activities to spend time on their own learning, so they are not good models for other employees, when it comes to workplace learning, especially informal learning.

  3. Ray Jimenez

    Harold, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. What I often find vexing is that many leaders think learning is separate from work. It is one and the same. Best, Ray


Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)