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70:20:10 - Read Between the Numbers

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70:20:10 - Read Between the Numbers

Learning is a natural process. Anybody who has been a trainer or a student knows how much the mind can take in at a sitting and how long it retains it.

Everybody’s learning curve and method is different. Yet, research and empirical data shows that there is a certain rhythm to the way people imbibe knowledge and skills.

As a trainer, surely you might have come across the 70:20:10 principle. Loosely described, it means:

70% of the learning takes place through real life, hands-on experiences, and by performing tasks and solving problems.
20% of the learning is imbibed through feedback and from observing and working with other skilled professionals, colleagues, etc.
10% of the learning happens from formal, sit-down training.

The numbers could vary; will vary, in fact. Learning is a very personal experience and the result of one individual will be different from another, within the same organisation, working the same job, getting the same stimulus and even exposed to the same training workshops.

It is not a good idea to rely on 70:20:10 as a sacrosanct formula, but rather, to treat it as a guideline, at best a framework. An organisation can structure its training and skills development programme around this knowledge, and use it as a backdrop to accelerate and support its employees’ learning curve.

Re-thinking Learning

However, do not make the mistake of slotting the three types of learning into separate boxes. They are inter-dependant and together contribute towards holistic learning.

All three types of learning methods, when combined, create a cohesive learning solution. Understand the dynamics of your workplace, study the social and cultural nuances to arrive at the right mix of learning methods that work for your organisation.

Just Numbers

There is another school of thought that rejects the 70:20:10 formula, calling it a by-product of an era long gone. And we agree, to some extent.

We can’t stress enough about not relying upon the numbers as sacred. But there is a lot of research that supports the effectiveness of combining on-the-job learning, community learning and formal training. To debate over whether it’s exactly 70:20:10 is a bit futile.

As with any learning, there is a formal and informal element involved. Take children, for example. They learn their subjects in school in a formal setting, but learn how to ride a bicycle on the playground, informally.

Your employees function pretty much the same way. 

Bottom line...

70:20:10 is a basic human truth and while the numbers may be flexible, there’s one thing that all trainers seem to agree on – most learning happens at the workplace, on the job and through interactions with colleagues. Formal training must serve as a means to support this on-the-job development.

 

Just Numbers

There is another school of thought that rejects the 70:20:10 formula, calling it a by-product of an era long gone. And we agree, to some extent.

 

We can’t stress enough about not relying upon the numbers as sacred. But there is a lot of research that supports the effectiveness of combining on-the-job learning, community learning and formal training. To debate over whether it’s exactly 70:20:10 is a bit futile.

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