1 JULY, 2012


Kelly, we’ve been talking about informal learning for some  time now. How does 70:20:10 fit in?

The notion of formal learning is not new; I think most people would agree that a large percentage of what we learn in the workplace is learnt through on-the-job experience. But what 70:20:10 does is it gives us a guideline or a framework to recognise the value of both the formal and the informal learning. So 70:20:10 suggests that about 70% of learning occurs through learning on-the-job or learning through experience; about 20% is learning through others or social learning; and about 10% is through structured formal learning events. We need to make sure we don’t get caught up on the percentages. What this is, is a model or a framework to guide our thinking so that we can get the right mix of activities to meet the development needs.

Is it a buzz word or an effective learning approach?

There’s no doubt that 70:20:10 has been gaining momentum in recent years and I’m sure a number of learning and development professionals have been using it instinctively for a long time before that. But what 70:20:10 does is it provides learning and development professionals, who are constantly being asked to do more with less, with some tools to help build awareness within an organisation that very important and effective learning happens both within and outside of formal learning events. In fact, I recently spoke to an organisation who has implemented 70:20:10 and have noticed a marked increase or an improvement in their employee engagement scores. Comments such as ‘I never get development’ have now been replaced by people recognising that they’re being developed all the time and in lots of different ways.

What does this mean for formal education?

Look, 70:20:10 or informal learning in general doesn’t devalue the formal education programmes, but what it does is it recognises that we learn in lots of ways. And if these informal interactions can be targeted and focused to support the formal learning then it’s more likely that the transition of that learning into the workplace will resolve and the behavioural changes that we’re seeking will occur.

How can organisations support this?

It changes the role of learning and development professionals. So the focus is not only on the formal programmes, but also on methods and opportunities to support those formal learning programmes and also to acknowledge and support the importance and the value of on-the-job and social learning.

How does DeakinPrime assist with this process?

Learning through others and learning on-the-job is an underpinning philosophy that DeakinPrime would recommend for all learning and development initiatives. Over time we’ve gathered significant intelligence and data, both through our professional practice and also through interviewing 24 organisations in Australia and around the world who are subscribing to the 70:20:10 model for our paper ‘Demystifying 70:20:10’.

We also hear about self-directed, self-regulated and social learning. What do these concepts mean and should organisations be embracing them?

With the increase in access to information we’re seeing more and more people embark on self-directed and self-regulated learning. We’re also hearing more and more about just in time or point of need learning. It’s a really exciting time in the social learning space. We’re seeing people crowdsourcing information through Twitter or Facebook or discussion boards or downloading podcasts from universities that they don’t even attend, and then sharing this information with their networks with just the click of a button. With the plethora of information available the skill in this area is how can we support our workforce to access and filter this information and then be able to apply it to their own particular development need?

Download the whitepaper here.