How to apply the 70:20:10 model in the 21st century

When Performance Matters

How to apply the 70:20:10 model in the 21st century


Author: Simon Morden CEO Prosell UK

Original Article published by Prosell UK


This article on 70:20:10 is particularly applicable to organisations in Australia.  With a large geography and smaller population than most, it is often difficult to regularly apply training to small groups of employees.  This means Australian companies should look hard at 70:20:10 and adopt practices that focus on effective workplace work-place development.

Peter Fullbrook Managing Director Prosell Australia


The 70:20:10 learning model has been around since the mid-80s and organisations around the world have found the model beneficial in improving workplace learning. However forces on the business world today have made it increasingly difficult to implement. So what are those challenges? And how could this model be better supported in the workplace? Mobile learning perhaps is the answer.

What is the 70:20:10 model?

But first let’s take a quick look at what the 70:20:10 model is. Although various authors are cited as the source of this model, it was popularised by the consultant and former Chief learning officer, Charles Jennings, who is now director of the 70:20:10 forum.

The model suggests that: 

  • 70% of learning comes through on the job experience
  • 20% comes from coaching, mentoring and development with others
  • 10% is through formal learning interventions and structured courses

In essence, the model identifies that both structured and unstructured learning play important roles in the learning process.

One common misconception is that the 70:20:10 model is anti-formal training. This is not the case at all. Rather the model highlights that all other forms of learning should be considered when devising your development strategy. Also, the experts who promote this model go on to stress that you must not get too hung up about the precise percentage figures.

From our perspective, the model and others similar to the 70:20:10 model, highlights the importance of what we at Prosell refer to as structured and unstructured learning. Indeed, for us the focus is always on how you ensure that the learning leads to performance improvement. Our experience tells us that you need to consider the type of learner, the kind of role and also typically the required learning. In support of 70:20:10 model, our most successful solutions embrace structured and unstructured learning with a great deal of emphasis on workplace learning and coaching.


So what are some of the challenges to this mix of unstructured and structured learning? As shown in a recent study by the Aberdeen group, one of the biggest challenges is to deliver learning across multiple geographies. Others include the time available for managers to spend with their teams and the number of individuals for whom managers are now responsible.

How can mobile learning support the structured and unstructured learning?

1.   Office-Based Learners

Structured eLearning as well as classroom training can now be easily followed up with workplace coaching sessions delivered via mobile learning via FaceTime or Skype. Based on our research, we saw that these follow-up coaching sessions can be incrediably effective.  

2.   Remote Learners

Mobile learning devices give remote learners the ability to access structured learning and coaching as well as participate in unstructured learning.  

3.   Less Structured Learning

Learners can also take part in social learning activities with peers as part of online forums. The learning from these forums can then be shared by experts throughout the business.

Indeed, we are seeing more and more internal teams being equipped with the skills and the tools to create their own learning, which is then shared via a mobile platform throughout the organisation.  All of this can happen extremely quickly, due to the connectivity served up as part of the mobile learning menu. It is also important to remember that your teams coming into the workplace today are well versed in the world of mobile applications. Organisations are listening to these teams - and almost a quarter of these organisations are planning to adopt a new learning delivery that appeals to diverse learning styles.

So, in conclusion, mobile learning is here to stay and can support the structured and unstructured learning so critical to an individual and business performance. Guy Sellwood, our MD recently referred to this approach as Lifestyle Learning as it describes how we live our working lives, with its demand for flexibility. So the question now is not whether you should implement mobile learning but rather when.


If you would like to discuss how a mobile learning solution could be rolled out in your business, please do get in touch. We would love to hear from you.
















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