You might be familiar with the popular 70-20-10 model, which formulates that learners obtain 70 percent of their knowledge from job-related experiences, 20 percent from interactions with others, and 10 percent from formal educational events. This model has been around since the early 1980s, and is widely used amongst L&D professionals globally.

The 70-20-10 model seeks to encourage L&D to consider their role outside of formal learning. However, in practice, organizations inadvertently make the following mistakes:

  • Believing that 70-20-10 is a prescription, and learning assets must follow this exact ratio.
  • Shedding accountability, and only taking responsibility for designing and delivering for the 10 percent part of the ratio.

Another common mistake that we often see in the deployment of the 70-20-10 model is the limitation of the kinds of learning assets and learning moments. This model is often oversimplified and usually only considers on-the-job, coaching, and classroom as the learning asset types, which excludes other moments and avenues of learning.

So, as asked in our community dialogue last week, what’s the relationship between the 70-20-10 model and the LCD model?

The answer is that the LCD model overcomes some of the issues with and moves beyond the 70:20:10 model.

The LCD model concept and language of learning assets spread across three learning touchpoints, Social, Immediate, and Formal, doesn’t imply a prescribed formula. Some initiatives may make more sense to have 80% or more of learning assets in the “Immediate” 24/7 available category — such as sales or product updates in which learning needs to happen frequently. Others, such as when teaching a new skill, may be more effective with a greater percentage of “Formal” immersive, foundational learning that has a clear sequenced curricula with a start/stop and potentially, calendared date. The flexibility of the LCD model allows you as a designer to make strategic judgments based on the business and learner outcomes.

Also, the LCD model’s language of touchpoints accounts better for new avenues of learning and allows for overlap between touchpoints. Whereas a learning cluster may feature a formal classroom event that falls within the “10 percent” category, learning via podcast doesn’t quite align with any of the 70-20-10 categories, yet easily falls into the immediate learning touchpoint within the LCD model.

Understanding the research behind 70-20-10 is, however, important when developing learning assets that will be accessed by the learner in the flow of work. Using 70:20:10 with the LCD model gives us another checkpoint to make sure we are making an impact everywhere it makes sense — not just in the classroom or in a formal curricula, like an e-learning.

Without the LCD model, we may think we are just responsible for the 10%. However, if approximately 70% of knowledge is from job-related experiences, L&D professionals can create a learning asset such as a peer-to-peer chat for learners to share those experiences with each other (Social Touchpoint). If 20% of learning is from interaction with others, design an easy-to-access, searchable document that allows learners to quickly find a coach (Immediate Touchpoint). The breadth implied by the three learning touchpoints helps us go beyond 70:20:10 and encourages us to explore and include new learning assets for today’s technology and modern learner.

Have you used 70:20:10 to build your learning strategy? Where have you been successful and where have you wished for more? What are your thoughts on the LCD model as a building block to take you further?