moving beyond training

Working smarter means that everyone in an organization learns from experience and shares with their colleagues as part of their work. Training is not enough — see the missing half of training. We cannot know in advance and prepare formal instruction for everything that people need to learn on the job today.

The 70:20:10 framework shows that learning at work is based, generally, on these ratios:

  • 70% from Experience
  • 20%: from Exposure
  • 10% from formal Education

This framework provides a rule of thumb for resource allocation for workplace learning support. It is based on four key activities:

  • Exposure to new and rich experiences.
  • The opportunity to practice.
  • Engaging in conversation and exchanges with each other.
  • Making time to reflect on new observations, information, experiences, etc.

People need tools, skills, and work relationships to get things done. Tools are required to do the work or learn how to do it. This is the focus of the field of Human Performance Technology (HPT) and performance support. Also, individuals need the skills to be able to learn for themselves and make sense of their work and their lives. Personal Knowledge Mastery (PKM) is a framework that supports self-directed learning. Finally, all workers have to be able to work with, and learn from, others. This is social learning, which can be supported enterprise-wide through policies, practices, and technology.

Some practical ways to implement the 70:20:10 framework include:

  • Help people move from a fixed to a development mindset, encouraging learning at work.
  • Open up lines of communication, especially between new and experienced staff, in an environment of psychological safety.
  • Develop and promote communities of practice for learning among peers.
  • Provide high quality on-demand resources at the point of work.

These practices and the 70:20:10 rule of thumb can guide workplace learning but first, learning and development specialists have to become adept with new skills based on models perhaps outside of their previous experiences of content delivery.

Learning programs are often based on the premise of reducing errors at work. But organizational performance improvement means increasing insights in addition to reducing errors. The former is even more important in addressing complex issues such as shifting to remote work across the enterprise.

The transition to a modern approach for workplace learning can be built upon nine practice areas (below). This approach, initiated with a collaborative workshop, has already been successfully used by a global financial services organization and other companies, including software development firms.

A focus on social and informal learning will help organizations face more complex challenges and promote a proactive learning culture rather than a reactive system that focuses on problems after the fact. We can start by preparing people in learning functions across the enterprise to model the emerging behaviours required for an increasingly complex business environment.

This is the social learning workshop.

“This workshop helped focus and situate the core elements that needed consideration in the development of a learning transformation strategy at a major financial institution contact center.” —Nancy Slawski, Senior Learning Consultant

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