There is a lot of talk around at the moment about the application of the 70:20:10 model to the way organizations develop their people.

The 70:20:10 learning framework was developed by Morgan McCall, Robert W. Eichinger and Michael M. Lombardo at the Center for Creative Leadership and is based on empirical research about how we learn. It is essentially a model which describes the way that learning takes place in most situations in the workplace. The model outlines that 70% of learning takes place through experience – actually doing the thing we are trying to learn, 20% of learning takes place with the help of the people around us – the relationships we have at work with coaches, mentors, managers and peers giving us feedback, and opportunities for reflection on what we’re learning, and finally 10% of learning happens in ‘formal’ situations such as training courses and workshops.

What are the implications of this for Learning and People Development in organizations? Quite simply this – L&D professionals need to now start thinking beyond the traditional ‘tick a box’ training solutions where the identified learning need was traditionally met through workshop or course attendance. Research clearly indicates that it’s simply not the way workplace learning happens best, and frankly in current lean times, not a great return on investment for the L&D budget.

So what should L&D departments be looking to provide instead? We need to change our focus from learner centred to a focus on productivity and performance, where learning experiences are identified and supported within the work environment. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Work with managers to identify on-the-job opportunities for staff to learn new skills
  • Set up small project teams for new initiatives, where each member brings a unique set of skills from which others can learn
  • Create time and space for regular reflection on skills learnt
  • Work as a true business partner with other parts of the organisation so opportunities for cross collaboration between departments or teams can be identified
  • Work with managers to identify ‘subject matter/skills experts’ and create mentoring and shadowing opportunities
  • Create opportunities for networking and relationship building between different parts of the organisation, and externally
  • Identify and create action learning opportunities
  • Provide time and space for workers to congregate and share experiences
  • Encourage professional membership to relevant industry associations
  • Provide workplace coaching using external and internal coaches – and the opportunity for managers and others to learn how to coach
  • Facilitate networking, self discovery and self directed learning and teaching through blogs, wikis, and technology assisted knowledge bases

For further information on how to re-focus the L&D function in your organisation, contact Tania Tytherleigh at