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Nigel Walpole Is 70:20:10 learning just in vogue, or here to stay?

Every now and then a new phrase or topic captures the imagination of L&D professionals and there is no doubt that ‘70 20 10’ is currently one of those topics. But what is it?

The concept focusses on the understanding that the majority (around 70%) of learning comes through experience, 20% from social learning with colleagues (and others) and 10% through formal learning such as face to face training courses or eLearning.


Whether or not these figures are accurate, the concept provides a very pertinent ‘line in the sand’ to prompt reflection on how people learn in the modern workplace.

Actually, that very word ‘workplace’ illustrates part of the changing emphasis; fewer of us work in traditional workplaces. Even if we do, our network of contacts stretches far and wide, our sources of information are many and varied, and our opportunity to learn from others is greatly enhanced.

One other huge benefit of this shift is that it provides a real focus on individual training needs – no two people will experience exactly the same learning.

But what does this mean for L&D professionals. Is it right that we have control over only 10% of learning? What it really means is ensuring we are enabling learners to access their own learning in the form they want, when they need it – really bringing terms like empowerment, blended, curation, experiential and social learning all together under one ‘umbrella’.

It is in these terms that the change for L&D is really apparent - how can you encourage social learning but make sure people are learning the right things? How can you blend different media and technology together in a way that suits everyone? How can you make even formal learning really experiential? How can you give people responsibility for their own learning?

This is about a change of attitude and behaviour, really accelerating that move away from content and courses and simply giving learners the tools they need.

I was discussing this concept with a friend who completed an apprenticeship and he said: ‘that’s exactly like it was for me all those years ago – ”somebody explained to me what to do, I did it and learned what worked well and what didn’t work so well, and then someone more experienced gave me some additional advice on how to improve”.

Perhaps - Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

Good luck, you know where to come for advice - just contact us.

Nigel Walpole

Nigel Walpole, MD, Bray Leino Learning

In my series of blogs I’ll talk through my thoughts on some of the key issues facing managers in the workplace - lessons learnt, tips for success and general musings.

Copyright © 2015 Bray Leino Learning

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