The 70-20-10 Rule

Learning & Development never was and never will be straightforward. It has to be to strategised. Here, the 70-20-10 rule comes into play. With this illuminating article, you can carve a path to enhance your learning strategies. The rule offers a structured framework that delineates the most effective pathways through which individuals acquire knowledge and skills. In this in-depth examination, we will demystify the 70-20-10 rule, dissecting its fundamental elements, and revealing its profound importance.

Let’s uncover the multifaceted nature of learning and development with 70-20-10. It breaks down learning into three primary components:

  1. On-the-Job Learning
  2. Social Learning
  3. Formal Learning

We will explore each one of them…

What is the 70-20-10 Rule?

70%:  On The Job Training

Why just get a salary from your job when you can reap more benefits from it?  

  • Hands-On Experience: On-the-job learning involves practical, real-world experiences where you apply your skills to tackle those mind-numbing challenges. Through these experiences, you gain invaluable insights and expertise.
  • Immediate Application: You get to acquire new knowledge and skills, and now you can put them into practice, reinforcing learning and enhancing your job performance.
  • Problem-Solving: You will develop critical problem-solving skills, adaptability, and resilience. Let these challenges become opportunities for growth and skill refinement.


20% Social Learning

Who doesn’t love to chat? Just turn those chats professional and you will be learning through interactions and collaboration with others. It is a vital aspect for professional growth and development. 

  • Mentoring and Coaching: The people around you with whom you chat with a cup in hand also have mastered some or the other skills. Keep your eyes open, you never know how much you can learn from them. Some can guide you to your path of success or you can also be mentored. Experienced colleagues or mentors play a pivotal role in social learning by providing guidance, sharing their wealth of knowledge and insights, and accelerating a learner’s development. Through mentoring relationships, you can gain access to the wisdom and experience of those who have walked similar professional paths.
  • Peer Interaction: Collaborating with peers fosters the exchange of ideas, experiences, and best practices. It creates a dynamic learning environment where you can tap into their collective expertise.
  • Feedback and Reflection: Constructive feedback from your colleagues is essential. It helps you to identify areas for improvement, refine your skills, and gain a deeper understanding of your strengths and weaknesses.


10% Formal Learning

While formal learning represents the smallest percentage of the 70-20-10 rule, it remains a crucial part of the learning and development landscape:

  • Workshops and Courses: Structured learning experiences such as workshops, seminars, courses, and conferences. These can offer opportunities for focused and in-depth learning on specific topics, providing a structured approach to skill development and knowledge acquisition.
  • Certifications and Qualifications: Remember medals just don’t shine alone, their shine is also reflected on your face. So why not always wear them? In certain industries, formal training leading to certifications and qualifications is necessary for career advancement and professional recognition. These formal credentials validate your expertise and competence.
  • Foundational Knowledge: Formal learning plays a crucial role in establishing a strong foundation, particularly for complex subjects or new technologies. It can provide you with fundamental knowledge and principles that serve as building blocks for more advanced learning and development.

The Significance

The 70-20-10 rule carries profound implications for the field of learning and development:

  • Learning is Ongoing: Learning is not confined to formal education but is instead an ongoing and continuous process. It extends throughout an individual’s career. Always keep in mind that learning is a lifelong journey enriched by your daily experiences and interactions.
  • Diverse Learning Methods Matter: Effective learning and development programs should incorporate a diverse blend of on-the-job experiences, social interactions, and formal training. Recognizing the value of this diversity in learning methods is key to unlocking your potential and making yourself a well-rounded professional.
  • Adaptability is Key: In a rapidly evolving work environment characterized by constant change and innovation, be a person who can adapt and learn on the job. Soon you will be better equipped to thrive.

Hey, Organizations…

To harness the power of the 70-20-10 rule within your organization, consider the following strategies:

  • Encourage On-the-Job Learning: Create an organizational culture that encourages employees to take ownership of their learning journey through hands-on experiences, challenging assignments, and the pursuit of new skills.
  • Facilitate Social Learning: Promote mentorship programs, peer-to-peer learning initiatives, and knowledge-sharing platforms to facilitate meaningful interactions and the exchange of knowledge among employees.
  • Invest in Formal Training: Provide opportunities for your employees to participate in workshops, courses, and relevant training programs that align with organizational goals and individual development plans.
  • Measure and Adapt: Continuous Learning, Assessment, and feedback are essential to a successful learning and development strategy. Regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your initiatives and be prepared to make adjustments based on feedback and outcomes.

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