The 70:20:10 rule of learning

The 70:20:10 rule of learning

Posted on Jun 17, 2015

The 70:20:10 rule of learning – what it is and how flick can help you with this

Like so many of the terms you’ll come across in the learning world, the chances are that you’ll see this referred to in varying ways: 70:20:10, 70/20/10 or 70-20-10. No matter how it’s written, it’s still talking about the same thing - a learning model.

The model suggests there are three ways we learn new things and the amount we learn in each way differs. We learn:

  • 70% from on-the-job experiences or practice (ie learning by doing)
  • 20% from feedback, coaching or mentoring (ie learning through social interaction)
  • 10% from formal learning or teaching (ie being taught or given information)

These figures are a guide so you don’t need to divide up your time exactly to be successful. Whilst there is no certainty about the exact ratio, there is 50 years of research on this method that has proven the model to be successful.

This isn’t the only learning method you’ll have heard about. Another common one often mentioned, and sometimes confused with 70:20:10, is blended learning. The two models are actually distinct and blended learning is, well, pretty much that – combining two different methods of instruction to provide the learning.

blended learning

Blended learning only focuses on using different media for the 10% of formal learning covered in the 70:20:10 model.

The chances are that, if you’re talking about 70:20:10, then the name Charles Jennings won’t be far away as he’s considered to be one of the leading authorities on the model. He argues that 70:20:10 is actually about bringing working and learning together – there is no longer ‘work’ and ‘learning’ but that both are linked and ongoing.

Here at flick, we are fans of the 70:20:10 model because it supports ‘pull’ rather than ‘push’ learning associated with formal instruction.

What’s pull learning? Let’s start at the beginning. There is pull learning and there is push learning. Here are some examples:

Push learning – think about being at school: you have your timetable to tell you what you’re going to learn and where you are going to learn it. You turn up at the right place and right time and you will learn.

Pull learning – think about on the other hand would be you signing yourself up for a webinar, subscribing to a new blog, searching YouTube for how to videos.

The core difference here is choice. Pull learning encourages the learner to be more in control of the learning process, which drives engagement and motivation.

70:20:10 – a way to innovate

An idea that started as a learning model was used by Google’s Eric Schmidt to create a model for driving innovation instead. Using the existing framework, he devised a way for employees to spend their time:

  • 70% on the core business;
  • 20% on projects related to the core business;
  • 10% on new, unrelated products/idea

Is it a successful way to drive innovation? There are strong reasons to say yes: Google Maps, Google Mail, Google Docs, for example. These are strong, well-known and well-liked products. If I were to ask your thoughts on Google Lively, you’d probably struggle to even recognise the name as Google, despite its many successes, is also known for a number of products that get swept under the carpet without achieving success. Clearly then, the model is successful in driving innovation but is it always the right kind of innovation? You’ll need to decide that one.

How flick helps with implementing a 70:20:10 model of learning

flick recognises the need to embrace more than the formal instruction (ie the 10%) to offer you a well-rounded learning experience so with flick, your learners will get:

  • Scenarios, games and practical elements within the courses that focus on the principle of ‘we learn by doing’. Giving learners the chance to try out their skills
  • Quick flick guides, templates and resources – expanding on the core learning with useful hints and tips
  • Pinterest boards and YouTube channels give the interested learner the chance to find out more on a broad range of topics – no matter what takes their fancy.

Do you think this method would work for your staff? Why not see it in action and sign up with flick today?


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