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Last edited 29 Nov 2021
70-20-10 learning model
70-20-10 (also referred to as 70:20:10 or 70/20/10) is a model for learning and leadership development in adults. It is based on the idea that 70% of learning comes from on the job experience and subsequent reflection, 20% comes from working with - or observing - others through developmental relationships and 10% comes from formal training programmes or coursework.
The 70-20-10 learning model originated in the 1980s. It was based on Lessons of Experience, a research project on management conducted in 1988 by Morgan McCall, Michael M. Lombardo and Robert A. Eichinger, supported by the Center for Creative Leadership in the United States. In 1996, Lombardo and Eichinger formulated the results of the research into a survey that was given to a sampling of successful executives.
Please identify at least three key events in your career, things that made a difference in the way you manage now.
- What happened?
- What did you learn from it (for better or worse)?
Some researchers and training professionals have criticised the model due to the small size of the sample that was used. It has also been suggested that the lack of diversity within the survey sample (which only collected responses from established managers) might be less than effective for wider workforce development.
There has also been criticism about a lack of empirical data to support the model, leading to the suggestion that it is not scientific and should simply be a consideration rather than a prescriptive approach to professional development. Writing for Association for Talent Development in 2014, Andrew Jefferson said, “The 70-20-10 model is considered to be of greatest value as a general guideline for organisations seeking to maximise the effectiveness of their learning and development programs through other activities and inputs. The model continues to be widely employed by organizations throughout the world.”
 Cultural changes
Methods of communication and learning have changed significantly with the development of online technologies. This has had some impact on the 70-20-10 model which relied on traditional (in person) formal learning approaches. As cultures have become more reliant on online sources of information, some learning approaches have shifted to the OSF (on-the-job, social, formal) ratio.
The adoption of this approach typically depends on circumstances within the organisation. For example, the on-the-job and social methods may be relied upon in situations where organisations do not offer formal training. Formal training approaches may be required in instances where there is a lack of opportunity for on-the-job or social training.
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