Elearning, Learning and development

How to use the 70/20/10 model to enhance your learning programs

You have probably heard about the 70/20/10 model right? Ever wondered how to apply it best to your learning programs? In this article I am sharing how you can use the 70/20/10 model quickly to your learning programs and training so you are sure your learning initiatives are successful. The 70-20-10 rule emerged from CCL’s Lessons of Experience research and is still nowadays one of the most used models. The rule states that learning should come from a variety of sources using a 70-20-10 ratio:

– 70% from challenging assignments: Experiential learning

– 20% from developmental relationships: Social learning

– 10% from coursework and training: Formal training

Since this model was created many years have passed, it gained ground and has been used to define the ideal conditions for how to train people. Traditionally in People & L&D departments we tend to focus more on the formal part of learning, yet this only accounts for 10% of the learning. We need to focus more attention on the 70% and 20% part.

Experiential Learning (70%)

Adult learners learn best by doing, and most studies confirm that most of what we retain relates to what we have personally experienced. We remember and are able to replicate much better something we have done rather than instructions on how to do things we have heard from others.

Bring experiential learning to your programs by incorporating:

– Day-to-day tasks and on-the-job activities, challenges, and practice

– Small group work

– Stretch assignments, internships and job placements  

– Meetings and presentations with own team and senior management

– Field trips to other business units, departments, manufacturing centre or operations hub

– Role-plays – Games and gamification (also in online learning)

– Case studies

– Application or revision of processes

– Simulations and virtual reality learning

learning programme

Embrace social learning (20%)

The 70-20-10 model highlights that nearly 20% of our learning happens from working in collaboration with others (through interactions, feedback, observation and working directly with our co-workers).

Social Learning theory from Bandura highlights the value of social learning when describing ‘Man’s capacity to learn by observation enables him to acquire large, integrated units of behaviour without gradual (…) and tedious trial and error’. Learning with other can therefore be a shortcut to quicker proficiency and knowledge.

How to embrace social learning in your learning programs:

– Create forums and discussion groups in your online learning
– Include assignments that include receiving feedback from peers, manager or trainer
– Add activities that foster consultation of others (seeking advice, asking opinions, etc)
– Mentoring and coaching
– Learn and Lunch sessions
– Link 360 feedback to learning
– Create internal teams/networks (virtual or in person)
– Relate content to blogs, wikis – External networks/contacts
– Offer membership with professional associations
– Facilitate group discussions including using web-conferencing
– Open air sessions
– Peer tutoring
– Use pinterest to find new information via pictures
– Discussion and debate activities
– Encourage learners to create and share own content

Lift your Formal training (10%)

Although formal training only accounts for 10% of learning in the 70/20/10 model, it can still an important place as starting point from which other types of learning can pick up. When you create a solid foundation for learning with your formal training, then your experiential and social learning that follows will be successful.

The secret to lifting your formal training is diversity, juggling with multiple activities that already connect with experiential learning and social learning already:

– Training courses and seminars (In person and virtual)
– Bootcamps and workshops anchored on hands-on experience
– Self-paced eLearning modules
– Lunch & Learn sessions
– Professional qualifications/ accreditation or certification
– Webinar and web-conferencing
– Video and video channels for employee learning
– Virtual reality learning


The value of the 70/20/10 model is that it highlights that learning is more than just traditional training. The learning process clearly benefits when there is a good mix of sources of learning. So even if your current learning initiatives that you have implemented are not matching exactly the 70/20/10, its how you make them work together that matters. Because each source of learning can reinforce the others.

We hope you enjoyed this article on how you can use the 70/20/10 model in your learning programs. Now we want to hear from you: with which source of learning are you going to start with and why? Let us know by leaving a quick comment.