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Rus Slater

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What should a traditional training function be doing in the 21st Century to further the 70: and 20: (obviously it’s still going to do the 10)?


A traditional Training or L&D function designs and delivers training courses.

But according to the 70:20:10 concept that is missing a big trick- the 70 and the 20

So what should a traditional L&D department/manager/professional be doing to get the maximum learning going when people aren't "in the classroom"?


17 Responses

  1. Hi anonymous; there’s a lot
    Hi anonymous; there’s a lot of mis-understanding about 70/20/10 with some people believing that the numbers represent a percentage of time people should be spent in those activities which isn’t the case.
    This is about where people get their most valuable learning experiences. Simply put if people are learning in the workplace’ in context as they are doing their job it is a potentially a more valuable learning experience than in a classroom.
    What the traditional L & D professional should be doing is ensuring that any classroom training is being embedded post course through coaching and simply being able to use the skills. If they can’t embed or use the skills straight away they will be lost and the ‘training’ will have been worthless.
    The L & D professional should also ensure that the learning people do every day, in the workplace, is shared with peers, acknowledged and discussed. Simply put everyone is a hub of knowledge and people learn through others – this needs to be harnessed in some way.

    1. Hi Clive
      Hi Clive
      Firstly, I don’t know why the site registered this as ‘anonymous’….but I’ve changed that now.
      Secondly, thanks for your response- you have given three actions which I value greatly:
      a) educate people to the huge value of on-the-job learning
      b) ensure embedding on-the-job (ie through practice) of the learning from the classroom and
      c) encourage sharing of on-the-job learning so others deliberately learn from their peers through the 20%.

      Who else has ideas to add?


      1. Hey Rus, glad the reply was
        Hey Rus, glad the reply was useful. The one thing I would add for the 70 aspect is that learners need to be in control of this – it’s about them managing their own learning and peer to peer sharing; it’s not dependent on a central learning expert – Trainer/Tutor etc.
        What we did is look at where learning occurs naturally outside of work. What we found is that almost everyone is watching ‘How To’ videos through Youtube. What makes it so popular is that it’s on demand and it’s in the learners control – they can watch it once, five times or ten times and they can watch a section at 1min 5 secs, for example, over and over again if they need to. What we have done is provide a tool to our learners to aid this by being able to watch bite-sized video tutorials (2-4 mins long). The platform we have also allows learners to create their own content and upload it for everyone. Users can share, like or comment on content; ask questions or ask for further content. They are in control which is the secret of the 70.

        1. Hi Clive
          Hi Clive
          Another excellent response- thanks. I’ve just completed a project where people aren’t able to access YouTube sadly which has created some challenges but like you we have found an alternative method (though not as sexy and all encompassing as yours!).

          Anyone else out there got any ideas!

    1. no apology needed! Excellent
      no apology needed! Excellent video which add a couple of points to my question: –
      -Pull not push
      -measurement must change as well



  2. I also think more needs to be
    I also think more needs to be done within companies to get employees to have input on the training & skills they need, as often this is something led by HR or the management team, which is why I think we’ve ended up with problems such as the digital skills gap, and also why not as many employees see the value in learning, as it’s just an initiative from up high.

    1. Good point Shonette- so an
      Good point Shonette- so an active programme within the organisation to educate line managers to encourage people to take a more proactive view of their longer term developmental needs and the solutions to them.

  3. Response via LinkedIn:
    Response via LinkedIn:
    “Coaching and mentoring are great ways of transferring relevant knowledge and experience across organisations. It doesn’t need to be a senior staff member mentoring a junior member – it could be across divisions or even mentoring up, where staff in non management positions show managers and more senior staff how they have overcome an issue.”

    1. thanks Shonette
      thanks Shonette
      To separate mentoring from coaching can also be helpful-
      Mentoring (in my definition) being about helping a person to develop their career through longer term planning and seeking out challenges, and
      Coaching being about helping a person to develop their skills short term with regard to immediate development needs and problem solving.
      Great stuff!

      Kepp ’em coming other TZers

  4. Hi Rus,
    Hi Rus,
    Good question, and one that is occupying L&D departments up and down the land. And in my opinion, it can lead people in the wrong direction. Training and L&D functions do deliver/assist learning, but in service of what?
    We should not really be asking how to maximise learning. We should be asking how to maximise performance. If we focus on performance, and look at the barriers that are limiting performance, we will come up with a number of ways to deal with those barriers. If the barrier is lack of knowledge, then we have to figure out whether it is knowledge that is needed on immediate recall, or knowledge that can be put in the environment of the performer and called upon on demand.
    What I have found is that when organisations approach performance in this way, and see learning as simply one of a large number of factors that contribute to performance, the variety of interventions they come up with can look like a 70:20:10 approach from the outside, even though they weren’t using this as a specific strategy.
    Cheers, Paul

    1. Mr Matthews, as I’d expect, a
      Mr Matthews, as I’d expect, a deep and thought- provoking answer, sir!
      I’m in violent agreement with you on the principles, my approach however was solely about the elements that are within the remit of an L&D function rather than those that are perhaps more within the gift of the MD or CEO… Your answer, however does clearly put performance-as-the-objective squarely into the L&D function’s area of influence, so thank you- another great contribution.


      1. Hi everyone, I think what
        Hi everyone, I think what Paul advocates is true and does actually high-light something that L & D professionals need to develop and that’s becoming more of a performance consultant. So they need to develop new skills to be able to influence and work alongside organisational influencers. This does require a change in focus and behaviors for the L & D person (particularly in-house). Simply put it’s about aligning more closely with organisational objectives. So gaining the skills isn’t the end point of training/learning; it’s how well people perform as a result of gaining new skills.

        1. Hi Clive
          Hi Clive
          That is very true- the challenge is getting people over the hurdle that it isn’t easy to measure the contribution of the learning (and therefore the learning department) to the performance.
          Performance is affected by so many other factors- management style, rewards and recompense, competition, the economy, product development customer expectation and so on….it is easier to measure bums-on-seats, clicks or downloads or even ‘happy-sheet’ type feedback. This is a major challenge to an L&D team- as Napoleon said “victory has many fathers”!
          Keep ’em coming, peeps.

          1. yep, that’s why I’m a fan of
            yep, that’s why I’m a fan of the Kirkpatrick’s new World Model because it’s a partnership where you start with the end in mind – agree what change in performance you want to see working back to agree leading indicators i.e. milestones that need to happen. In that approach it is a partnership where everyone plays a part and if any part isn’t fulfilled it’s easy to see where things fell down. In that approach it isn’t just about whether the ‘training’ happened; it’s a series of events activities almost like a project plan.

  5. Another response from Daryl
    Another response from Daryl on LinkedIn:
    “I encourage our Team Leaders to hold regular ‘on the spot’ quizzes with their teams, which asks questions based on their specific area of expertise. This ensures that ‘everyone’ should have a basic understanding of their role and in addition, if there is a question that the ‘majority’ get wrong displays a potential training gap.”

    1. Mindset question-
      Mindset question-
      “if there is a question that the ‘majority’ get wrong displays a potential training gap.”

      Is it a “training” gap- or a gap in their knowledge?

      To see it as a ‘training’ gap suggests that training is the solution where it may well be that there is a better way of plugging the gap

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