Infrastructure_AcademyYou might be asking what 70/20/10 stands for. It is the 70/20/10 Learning and Development model that was developed in the early 1990s by Robert Eichinger, Michael Lombardo and Morgan McCall. This model asserts that:

  • 70 percent of learning and development comes from real-life/on-the-job experiences, tasks and problem solving;
  • 20 percent comes from informal or formal feedback, mentoring or coaching; and
  • 10 percent comes from formal training.

A criticism of this model is that formal learning initiatives are devalued and that, if 90 percent of learning is informal, then it requires no attention. However, the 70/20/10 idea resulted from an effort to raise awareness about the informal and experiential learning that occurs without conscious acknowledgement or even planning by the learner, unlike formalized learning which is more of a conscious decision. The 70/20/10 rule should be an influence on training strategy rather than a strategy in itself.

The most useful application of this powerful model for understanding learners and their learning styles should be to:

  • Strongly support the 70 percent learning.
  • Develop and exploit the power of the 20 percent.
  • Design the 10 percent within the clear context of the other 90 percent.
What does the CommScope Infrastructure Academy think about 70/20/10?

Professionals and executives get hung up on the numbers or the right combination of training. But 70/20/10 is all about recognizing that most learning happens informally on the job. Therefore it requires a change in the culture of professional learning that strikes the right balance for an organization.

The 70/20/10 rule is about creating a culture of recognizing informal learning as well as promoting opportunities to learn informally. People should realize they are learning as they are doing, rather than always needing to attend a training session in a classroom. Leaders, managers and staff need to shift their thinking about what, where and how learning takes place. Not only do culture and mindset need to change; they also need to explore how systems, policies and procedures are affected.
Some people may doubt this approach or whether it even works; however, I believe it is a philosophy not a formula. The main doubts people have about it include:

  • Some feel releasing control from formalized to informal learning may produce issues for the business.
  • Quality can’t be assured or controlled.
  • The knowledge and skill transfer may be incorrect.
  • The trainer/coach/mentor may not have the right skills.

However this is similar to apprentice-type schemes widely deployed today, which proves that support from students’ managers and supervisors is a powerful way to engage and encourage employees.

The Commscope Infrastructure Academy helps facilitate this philosophy by moving formal training material to an online delivery. It enables the 10 percent of formal training to be consistently delivered, when, where and at the pace of the student. It remains available for further review as students learn on the job and with the support of experienced coaches or mentors.

Are you ready to start your 10 percent today?

About the Author

James Donovan

James Donovan is Vice President of the CommScope Infrastructure Academy. James joined CommScope in 1993 and has held positions in Sales, Technical, Marketing, Training and Business Development and served most recently as VP of Digital and Creative Services for CommScope. James oversees the CommScope Infrastructure Academy, which is CommScope’s partner and customer training platform. Prior to joining the company, he held positions at GEC, ITT and Alcatel. He holds a Masters Degree in Engineering and a BSc Honors degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

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