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Tom Boyesen-Corballis

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Best places to find evidence within HR/L&D


Hello everyone,

I have been working in L&D for a few years now and started my CIPD level 5 in L&D last year to gain a more in depth and strategic knowledge of the subject. 

Within the qualification I have come across a number of concepts that appear to be industry standards/current wisdom but I haven't, yet, seen any compelling evidence that they are true. They are often stated as true but not referenced or the references that I can find refer to secondary sources that don't link to original research. Alternatively, I have found original, and preliminary research but none following that.

Some examples:

  1. 70:20:10 model of learning
  2. 7%, 38%, 55% model of communication (Albert Mehrabian)
  3. VAK learning preferences 
  4. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

I am trying to be an evidence based practitioner, which I feel means that I should consult primary literature and assess its merits, withholding my judgement until such a time as that bar for evidence has been reached. However, I am finding it hard to find these primary sources to assess the veracity of these claims.

I would really appreciate it if anyone could recommend:

  1. Some research journals/locations on the internet that are good to get primary literature on topics similar to those above.
  2. Any research specific to the topics I mentioned above 
  3. Any other advice for locating/assessing evidence within the HR/L&D field.

I searched for this topic within the database and didn't find anything, apoligies if I missed it. Thank you all very much for your time, have a great week.

Tom Boyesen-Corballis

5 Responses

  1. Hi there, I’ll say off the
    Hi there, I’ll say off the bat that I can’t help you with exactly what you are asking for, however, I have got a view on what you are asking and hope it’s ok to share it. I think part of the problem is using any of these concepts/theories as an absolute truth. For me, it’s about understanding them (for example, 70/20/10 is not a percentage you need to achieve, however, some people do try to get to those figures). It’s about being pragmatic and using them, if appropriate, as a guide to illuminate the way but not as an absolute truth.

    Let’s face it, learners don’t care about L & D concepts/theories/jargon. It’s about how able you are to align their development with achieving organisational goals. The things you mention might help you do that be people in situ don’t want to know the theories behind how you learn they just want to get on and do it. I’ve worked in L & D since 1988 and I’ve never come across a lay person who wants L & D theory explained to them. So, I focus on building relationships and moving people to achieving their goals etc. Sorry, this hasn’t answered your query but hope my thoughts shared are useful.

    BTW, does the CIPD not provide a definitive guide to all of the items mentioned? I don’t know, genuinely asking out of curiosity.

    1. Hi Clive,
      Hi Clive,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I think you’re right about the learning theories; human beings are generally pretty complex and boiling down their learning to three easy numbers is probably simplistic. However, a rough guide when designing a programme might be useful for us to make it engaging. Even if a theory isn’t 100% right, it might be better than nothing.

      The CIPD does have some comments regarding some of the theories I mentioned above, I’m just trying to explore the topics as widely as I can before I make up my mind.

      Have a great day

  2. No problem, I just worry that
    No problem, I just worry that people are using things like 70/20/10 as a target to be achieved and that’s not what it’s about.

  3. Sorry, also meant to say. If
    Sorry, also meant to say. If you want to research 70/20/10 more, look out for the work of Charles Jennings, I would say he is one of the most respected experts on the subject.


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