At the age of 18 I started working in a small Irish pub, the only one there was in the little village where I lived, yet it was a reference point for young people without a driving licence and a well-established meeting place for those elderly people who had lost their driving licence on their way home.
The fact that the pub was family-run made the atmosphere extremely informal. Two brothers in their fifties managed this little business, another 7 people loafed about every evening telling their tales, giving advice and speaking about their experiences.
It was there that I learnt to pull a pint of Guinness in an exemplary way, by trial and error, thanks to the impartial advice of the extended family, sure of possessing the absolute secret to how to serve this drink… alongside some personal readings on the best method to use to achieve the best compact froth, as is customary.
3 elements made it possible for me to achieve great results:
• On-the-job experience, experiments carried out on-site, errors and achievements.
• Interaction with colleagues and employers, always ready to share their teachings.
• Personal readings which lay the groundwork for enjoyable contradictory discussions.
Nowadays, we hear a lot about training and new technologies, yet I am sure, that experience in my late adolescence has been helpful for me more than I could have ever imagined.
In 1980, three researchers who worked for the Centre For Creative Leadership (Morgan McCall, Michael M. Lombardo and Robert A. Eichinger) theorised what the commonly recognised mix-tape used in company training activities would have become. The real blended learning wasn’t supposed to have been a simple blend between classroom teaching and virtual training, instead it was intended to be a well-shaken mix of formal and informal teaching together with on-the-job training: this is how the 70:20:10 model came to be.
Both managers and employees have started to understand how training actually came from three different sources: first-hand experience (70%), interaction with others (20%) and formal learning (10%).
In order to maximise training programmes, it was necessary to introduce new inputs and activities within the traditional formal method of education.
70%: The creators of this model believed that through first-hand experience each person could gain unexpected benefits, refine the skills required in their role of competence, rapidly learn from their own mistakes and receive immediate feedback as regards their performance.
20%: By means of social learning, coaching, mentoring, collaborative learning and interactive activities, each person would be put in the necessary conditions to learn from the experience gained by their peer, encouraging him/her, being encouraged in turn and to get back on track in case errors were made.
10%: Traditional courses, far from being outdated, drew new lifeblood from being immersed in the working life.
Interactions between Experiential, social and formal learning
If you had to face a task that you had never done before, what would you do instinctively?
Would you ask for help from a more experienced colleague and then carry out further, in-depth research alone and then undertake the challenge of carrying out experiments and tests? Maybe yes…
The 70:20:10 model consists of the constant interaction between the three dimensions described, organised in virtuous frameworks which are close to the user’s real training needs. Just as much in an L&D environment as in the management of business innovation processes, HR software makes it possible for both employees and managers to improve performance and skills by means of the management of training programmes and the provision of research material. An applicative solution to support human resources could not omit the necessary tools required in order to create communities to encourage communication and interaction among employees. Moreover, software complying with the 70:20:10 model will know how to enhance the value of traditional training activities.
The 70:20:10 blended learning model must be re-defined so as to be able to enable it to come closer to the real dynamics found within the workplace and to provide adequate frameworks to fulfill the learners’ training needs.
The value of informal learning
Learning comes naturally; it is de-structured and triggered by external events (new roles, changed market conditions, company mergers and take-overs…). This type of stimulus can be supported and its value can be significantly enhanced.
The transfer of knowledge is less critical if it is seen as an integrated process within a business context. The challenge is to support the learner by providing adequate material, technological platforms and solid frameworks for the recognition of informal training, while, at the same time, encouraging the development of social interaction and networking.
Within a blended learning vision it is possible to combine several learning dimensions:
• Formal: classroom teaching, digital learning, games, eModules, webinars, workshops, videos, Mooc (Coursera, EdX), assessments, white papers and other text-based support material.
• Informal: executive coaching & mentoring, supervision activities, community and network creation, action learning
• Social: Twitter, blogging, interactive games, sharing platforms, apps, on-line tools to exchange feedback etc.
A holistic approach is closer to the way in which people really learn. The sum of the elements is higher than the value of the single parts: people learn mainly due to practice, they improve if they are supported by informal discussions with those who have carried out the same kind of work, they consolidate their knowledge by means of formal learning supporting the technical skills learnt directly on-the-job. Once the training needs have been identified, it is necessary to offer training opportunities the same moment a particular necessity arises.
How far have the companies progressed?
Are Enterprise and Multinational Companies moving in the right direction?
The answer is no. While acknowledging the inadequacy of formal education alone, many organisations continue to invest most of their budget in classroom teaching, proving that they are incapable of recognising the value of informal education as well as the impact of the same on the learner within the specific context of reference. 90% of blended programmes end up in the 10% formula. If the classroom provides unique opportunities to improve learners’ skills, elements learnt both on-the-job and by means of interactive activities cannot but enhance the value of traditional frontal lessons in the classroom, in a virtuous circle containing all the elements.
With reference to an interesting document offered by Vado:
“• 49:26:25 is the average learning mix that most L&D professionals think exists across the workforce they support.
• 39:24:37 is the amount of time they think their HR department spends supporting on the job, informal and formal learning initiatives.”
And yet again:
“Paul Mathews in a blog post titled “So you think you know 70:20:10?” offers the following thought provoking question: «How can you generate experience for people more quickly than simply waiting for the universe to haphazardly provide the right situations that help them learn what they need to know? Start thinking about delivering experiences and delivering social interactions rather than just thinking about delivering content.»
David V. Day goes on to say in his article «The Difficulties of Learning From Experience and the Need for Deliberate Practice» that a «potential risk to relying on experience as a primary means of …development is that any learning from experience in the context of ongoing work would likely be happenstance and ad hoc at best.»”
Vado proposes 5 practical rules to introduce the 70:20.10 model within a business context:
1. Specific Instructions: Rather than rely on simulations or exercises in your courses or workshops, which is still part of the 10%, provide the learner with step by step instructions on how to apply the course on the job. This will eliminate the issue that David V. Day mentioned in his article about “happenstance and ad hoc at best.” The structure and guidance on how to handle the situation is provided— nothing is left to chance. The learner will know exactly what to do.
2. Keep Courses Short: Most e-learning courses tackle more than one topic. Here is an example, communication skills training. Communication skills training covers numerous topics ranging from listening skills to non-verbal communication skills to knowing your audience and so on. Instead of one long communication course, an alternative training method would be to provide short courses also known as micro-learning, chunked learning, or bite sized learning. They all mean the same thing: learning content that is broken down into small bite sized chunks or one single learning topic or learning objective per course. This allows the learner to select the exact course to meet individual need at the time of need. When too many topics are addressed at the same time, the learner wastes time getting to the point in the course that applies to their particular need. Employees and leaders have no patience for wading through information, thus wasting their time. This can lead to low e-learning course utilization.
3. Job Aids: Provide the learner with job aids they can use on the job in conjunction with the step by step instructions. Job Aids make it easy for the learner to complete the exercise. Removing barriers to completing the exercise will help your learners start and finish the on-the-job exercise.
4. Mobile: To help your learner complete the instructions on the job, in an actual work situation, the learning content needs to be able to be accessed on a hand held device. Providing Structure to the 70% Cindy Pascale, Vado, Inc. CEO page 6 www.vadoinc.net 70:20:10 Guide: Each step that the learner needs to go through to access the information acts as a barrier. Eliminate as many of them as possible.
5. Self-Assessment: Most e-learning courses end with a quiz that measures knowledge acquisition. This is appropriate in formal training. However, if you are designing courses that provide structure for the 70%, add an assessment that asks the learner to reflect on his/her experience and the skill building activities after the step by step instructions. As Charles Jennings suggests, this is an important component to learning in the 70%.
Moreover, it is necessary to introduce platforms so as to share information as well as to encourage the development of social learning and to allocate training budget resources in a different way in accordance with the 70:20:10 allocation method.
The technology-learning space
Technology plays a fundamental role.
It does not only support Companies in the management of contents in the form of repositories. It offers something more.
Together Extended Learning Management System connects the training courses with the learners’ roles; it encourages interaction by means of social networks, apps, communities, networking and internally-used platforms (Social Collaboration for the creation of teacher-learner communities). The Smart Solution makes it possible to use the provided features and contents by means of smartphones and tablets (IOS and Android). The introduction of Open Badges allows skills to be represented by means of badges, therefore determining a valuable meeting point between learners-company and training. The Tin Can APIs enable the collection and tracing of the user’s experience, supporting the definition of the actions that have had a positive impact on the training activities. The Self Service modes allow on-the-job training activities as well as indirect cost management to be traced (e.g. travel expenses).
The 70:20:10 model finds its full expression and support sustaining the natural skill acquisition process.
From 19th to 20th May 2016 Together will take part, as a Gold Sponsor, in the Next Generation Corporate Universities: Advancing Executive Learning event which will be held in Barcelona.
The conference offers the opportunity for discussion and networking as well as the chance to meet the organisational development decision-makers. This is, therefore, an excellent meeting place where to learn more about the future of company training activities.