L&D: All Learning Starts as Informal. All. 100%.

A Stake in the Ground

My Stake in the Ground – so to speak – before Will Thalheimer and Clark Quinn conduct their GREAT 70-20-10 Debate – on Thursday November 2nd – on Twitter.

  • London —- 1600 (4PM)
  • Boston/New York —- 1200 (Noon)
  • San Francisco —- 900 (9AM)

Twitter Hashtag —- #DebunkDebate

For more info – see Will’s post at: debunker.club/events.html

Mark your calendars!

What’s It All About?

From Will’s Post

The 70-20-10 reference model is indisputably one of the most recognized models in the workplace learning-and-performance field.

As with any paradigm-challenging model, it has both proponents and critics.

Given the importance of the 70-20-10 meme, it’s time we had a debate!!

How to join in — listening or contributing to the debate:

At the appointed time, go to Twitter and search for #DebunkDebate.

The moderators will ask questions, one at a time, each question will include the designated hashtag and a question number. If you’d like to respond to question, you are more than welcome. You are strongly encouraged!

Again – for more info – see Will’s post at: debunker.club/events.html

My Take/My Stake – In the Ground

Of course – I could be wrong.

And I’m open to what I might learn in the debate – 2 days hence.

But here is where I start…


All Learning began/begins as Informal – and remained that way – the so-called “70 and 20” – until someone decided to make it Formal.

And … because most Formal Learning – has historically been so poorly done – not authentic – more like content dumps – too long – not timely – etc/etc. – Formal has … deservedly … gotten a poor reputation.

We hoisted ourselves – collectively as a profession – on our own petard – to borrow a phrase.

But too much of the promotion of 70-20-10 or 10-20-70 … IMO … seems to suggest throwing that baby – Formal – out with the bath water – to borrow another phrase.

Some suggest getting rid of Courses for more Resources – but Resources don’t provide authentic Practice with timely, relevant Feedback to shape process and outputs into what they need to be.

And of course – Courses too often didn’t do that well enough – or include that – either. But displacing poor Courses with Resources when better Courses are needed isn’t gonna get us to Nirvana (heaven on earth).

And sometimes – a Course – often wasn’t required in the first place. A Resource was.

And as the late Joe Harless put it:

slide11 job aid

Maybe we’ve hoisted ourselves on an endless chain of petards.

Often it seems so.

First Informal – Then Shifts to More and More Formal – As Appropriate

Note – My Issue – with all of this is in the (continued use of the) numbers.

Not with the concepts behind the concepts of the numbers.

And also the source for those numbers.

I’ve been looking at end-to-end – or maybe the beginning to the middle – of what could be called a Learning Life Cycle … for a job … that could be quite static or quite dynamic and that could evolve once one gets promoted up the ranks – so to speak.

Informal may work for some jobs – for the entire job and the job life cycle/learning-the-job life cycle. If not … one asks their neighbor/peer.


If that doesn’t work … then one might seek other sources … which are likely to not be authentic for most to actually help … and then transfer back into the job/performance context adequately.

Learning “Active Listening” from a book, or YouTube video, may not actually help one master it enough to be successful back at the ranch.

Not just any ranch. Your ranch – pardner.

A Learning Life Cycle Model/Concept

One model probably doesn’t hold true for the Beginning of the Learning Life Cycle … or Learning Curve … as it does in the Middle – as it would near the End.

Where is the End Point?



Performance Competence Mastery.

Which may be a moving target. Fast or Slow.

As Always – It Depends.

B-M-E = Beginning-Middle-End

This BTW – is a framework I use in my Curriculum Architecture Design (CAD) methods for constructing a T&D Path/ Learning Path. Since the 1980s.


As A Reference Model – The Numbers Get in the Way 


Yours, of course, may vary.

I’ve written that before – and shared the graphic from Ryan Tracey embedded in my next graphic – here.


Read Ryan’s excellent post – here.

My Past Posts About This

My View Re: The Reference Model 70:20:10

70-20-10? … As Always – It Depends.

There’s some more elsewhere on my site – but let’s first participate in the GREAT DEBATE.

Anyway – That’s My Stake in the Ground About 70-20-10

As always – your comments are greatly appreciated.


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One comment on “L&D: All Learning Starts as Informal. All. 100%.

  1. Pingback: L&D: Enabling Better 70 in the Flipped 10-20-70 Model | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

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