70:20:10? Really??


70:20:10As the saying goes  “If all you have is a hammer…….….. then every problem looks like a nail”.

At the recent Learning Technologies Exhibition in London there seemed to be two distinct camps developing – those who think 70:20:10 is the answer to all ills and those who completely debunk its provenance and therefore usefulness.

Whilst polarity grabs attention I suspect that we need to maintain flexibility to meet our learners’ needs as effectively as possible. People learn in different ways; formal, from others and from experience. However, applying the 70:20:10 model to all learning & development challenges can be a mistake.

This framework was based on a survey of 200 executives who told the researchers how they believed they and their people learned and all around us we see tools and companies recommending the same framework for every context. Remember that the people who took part in the survey were already successful managers reflecting on their experiences.

Maybe we should also remember the Five Moments of Need from Conrad Gottfredson and Bob Mosher:

Five Moments of Need - Gottfredson and Mosher

Through this approach we can easily understand that the training strategy needs to be different in each of the 5 moments of need.

In the first we can include new hires, or people starting a new position. The percentage of formal training needs to be higher than for other people that want to learn more.

But when we look at moments three and four, for example, we need more of a just-in-time approach. The learner needs help now. These are the moments where the 70 / 20 is happening more.

So please stand back, look at your learners, and their moments of need and don’t try to apply the same solution to every need.

Article co-written by:
Francis Marshall, Managing Director, Cegos UK
Patricia Santos, eLearning Manager, Cegoc Portugal