70/20/10 Model (Learning and Development)

The 70:20:10 Model for Learning and Development (also written as 70-20-10 or 70/20/10) is a learning and development model that suggests a proportional breakdown of how people learn effectively; based on a survey asking nearly 200 executives to self-report how they believed they learned.[1]

 

In this survey respondents reported the following influences on learning:

 

70% from challenging assignments

20% from developmental relationships

10% from coursework and training

Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger expressed their rationale behind the 70:20:10 model this way in The Career Architect Development Planner:[1]

 

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.

 

Criticisms

Criticisms of the hypothesis include:

 

A lack of supporting empirical evidence. [2]

The use of perfectly even numbers. [3]

The nature of the survey (i.e. Asking already successful managers to reflect on their experiences.) [4]

The model may not reflect the changes in the market instigated by online technologies. For example, it does not reflect the recent focus on informal learning.[5]

The 70:20:10 model is not prescriptive. Author and learning & development professional Andy Jefferson asserts it “is neither a scientific fact nor a recipe for how best to develop people.” [4]

Every business has its own optimization levers, and it will be imprudent to apply a 70:20:10 model to all businesses

References

Lombardo, Michael M; Eichinger, Robert W (1996). The Career Architect Development Planner (1st ed.). Minneapolis: Lominger. p. iv. ISBN 0-9655712-1-1.

Clardy, Alan. “70-20-10 and the Dominance of Informal Learning: A Fact in Search of Evidence”. Human Resource Development Review, 17(2), 153-178.

Thalheimer, Will. “People remember 10%, 20%…Oh Really?”. Work-Learning Research. Retrieved 28 October 2019.

Jefferson, Andrew; Roy, Pollock. “70:20:10: Where Is the Evidence?”. Association for Talent Development. Retrieved 20 May 2016.

“The 70:20:10 Model for Learning and Development | Training Industry”. www.trainingindustry.com. 2017-09-28. Retrieved 2017-09-28.

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