Learning framework – why the 70:20:10 model still works

The 70 20 10 learning framework

As global providers of award winning diversity and inclusion programs, it’s crucial for us at emberin to be at the forefront of the most effective learning and development trends, such as the 70:20:10 learning framework, in order to produce amazing results for our clients.

With our assistance, our client, Telstra, increased the number of women in senior roles from 6% to 31% in just two years, winning a Global Catalyst Award. This was down to the positive changes made to their workplace culture.

These kind of results are achieved through following the right approach to adult learning and development. After all, many of our program participants are the senior leadership teams and executives of large multinational organisations.

Ever since emberin was founded in 2005 and the first version of the my mentor: Courageous Woman program was developed, the 70:20:10 learning framework was part of the formula.

This framework is one that’s been around since the 1980’s, but the principles are still very relevant today.

In short, this learning framework states that the most effective way for individuals to learn is:

  • 70% job-related experiences and assignments
  • 20% interactions with others and social learning
  • 10% from formal education and training

Just 10% of learning comes from formal education! This often surprises people from academic backgrounds. Let me explain the research behind this formula.

The 70:20:10 learning framework was created by three researchers and authors: Morgan McCall, Michael M. Lombardo and Robert A. Eichinger.

The trio were working at the Centre for Creative Leadership in 1996 to discover the key developmental experiences of successful teams.

By studying the learning behaviours of 200 executives, they concluded that:

“Development generally begins with a realization of current or future need and the motivation to do something about it. This might come from feedback, a mistake, watching other people’s reactions, failing or not being up to a task – in other words, from experience. The odds are that development will be about 70% from on-the-job experiences – working on tasks and problems; about 20% from feedback and working around good and bad examples of the need; and 10% from courses and reading.”

Here’s how our flagship program, my mentor Courageous Woman follows the 70:20:10 learning framework:

  • 10% – Participants (junior to middle-management level women) listen to formal coaching designed to build their confidence, develop their risk taking muscles, and shift their mindset to positivity!
  • 20% – Then there’s the social side, where participants are encouraged to form peer-mentoring groups and discuss their progress and thoughts on a fortnightly basis. This is where the breakthroughs really happen as they discuss and share the story of their journeys.
  • 70% – Finally, there’s the Courageous Actions that the participants are required to take during each of the 12 modules. The participants take action by challenging themselves in the areas they most want to and need to develop.

Here’s how our other flagship program, Courage: Inclusive Leadership in Action follows the same 70:20:10 learning framework::

  • 10% – The leader participants are exposed to the concept of inclusive leadership, and how it impacts the bottom line of the business.
  • 20% – The micro-learning program consists of scenarios, quizzes and videos to keep the participants engaged and interacting regularly.
  • 70% – Leaders are required to undertake experiments as they progress through the program, and monitor the impact these experiments have on the business. These vary from altering the recruitment process to gather more talented female applicants, to better supporting employees and seeing their engagement and productivity levels soar.

The feedback from these programs is phenomenal, and it’s always the ACTION that makes the difference to the learning and development of the participants. Proving that that the 70:20:10 learning framework really works.

Even with the constant evolvement of the technological world, we hold our point of view that the model can be a valuable principle even with the ever-evolving learning processes.

Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we apply the learning and development principles to our programs, and the incredible results our clients see.

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