The 70 20 10 model

In Learning & Development the 70 20 10 framework is often mentioned. It explains what the optimal sources of learning are. It’s main premise is that people obtain about 70 percent of their knowledge from experiences related to their job (on-the-job), 20 percent from interacting with co-workers and managers (near-the-job), and 10 percent from formal education in a structured ways (off-the-job).

The 70 20 10 model was created in the 1980s by three researchers who worked at the Center for Creative Leadership, in Greensboro, N.C. The three, Morgan McCall, Michael M. Lombardo and Robert A. Eichinger, were researching the key developmental experiences of successful managers.

The ratios 70, 20 and 10 are not set in stone, they merely tell us that most learning takes place on the job as opposed to in a formal learning setting. The model is helpful for organizations who want to yield a bigger benefit from their learning and development initiatives.

70 20 10: experiential learning

The creators of the 70 20 10 learning model claim that employees learn the most from job-related experiences. This is referred to as experiential learning. Employees complete daily tasks, have regular practice and resolve issues. This type of learning is informal and self-directed. Workers learn by doing, and that is how they become more knowledgeable. They can learn from mistakes, they need to overcome challenges, and they are encouraged to ask questions and feedback. As a result, workers refine the skills needed to do their jobs and get ready for future tasks at hand.

70 20 10: social learning

Employees learn from others by interacting with co-workers and managers. This part of the 70 20 10 model is called social learning. When workers complete tasks with others, they learn how to collaborate and solve issues together. They experience what it is like to work on a common goal. Mentoring and coaching are also very much a part of social learning, as are encouragement and feedback.

70 20 10: formal learning

The remaining 10 percent in the 70 20 10 model is called formal learning, and it is probably the most well-known to many people. It is learning delivered in a structured way. In the past this learning was taken care of mainly face-to-face and typically in a classroom-like setting. In recent years online learning has also very much become part of formal learning, supported by web-enabled delivery methods. Formal learning lends itself well for creating baseline knowledge for a wide variety of topics.

The 70 20 10 model at Inchainge

Learning with the business simulation games created by Inchainge combines experiential, social and formal learning altogether. This creates a complete and powerful learning experience. Below we explain how the different learnings are experienced in our online business simulation games.

The experiential learning part in the 70 20 10 rule is covered by immersing learners in a very lifelike virtual company in need of a turn-around. They become a management team member in the role of a Director or VP for a functional area, like – Finance, Purchasing, Operations, Supply Chain and Sales. It will feel like a first day on a new job for them: they need to take important decisions for their own functional area. They learn by doing and they learn from their mistakes as they go through several sessions and scenarios, in which the consequences of their decisions will become clear, whether good or bad.

The social learning part is included since the learners need to collaborate for the greater good of the team. If they want their virtual companies to thrive, learners will come to realize that first they need a common goal, or a shared strategy. With the strategy in mind, they need to align their decision-making in their own functional areas, so all areas contribute to the company’s success. At the same time learners will have to deal with trade-offs that exist within their own role, but especially across roles. And that again reinforces the need for alignment and collaboration.

Finally, the formal learning part is taken care of by instructor-led interventions or by means of e-learning. This part can be easily blended with the use of our business simulations.

Want to know more?

Now you know everything about the 70 20 10 model and how Inchainge combines all the different learning experiences into online business games. Do you want to know more about our business games? Have a look at our business simulation games.