T&D: The Occasional Arrogance of L&D/T&D Professionals


I don’t mean to indict everyone in the profession – but too many who are out there on Social Media too often seem to suggest that L&D owns Learning, all Learning, and needs to have their fingers in every piece of the pie.

By pie, I mean Ryan Tracey’s graphic – which converts the 70-20-10 Reference Model into this:


Although I’m not a fan of Job Aids being included in Experience – as Job Aids are engineered/designed to be Instructional – and most Challenging Assignments from the origins of the 70-20-10 Reference Model probably didn’t find them sitting at the ready to make The Challenge less-challenging.

Even the explanations of what is and what’s not in the so-called 70 have morphed from Challenging Assignments to use of Performance Support in the Workflow. You can’t sell into Challenging Assignments – but you can sell into Performance Support in the Workflow.

If you look back at the genesis of the 70-20-10 Reference Model you probably wouldn’t have thought about L&D or T&D being involved in any segment other than the so-called 10.

But that left a lot of Learning Left to Chance – Informal Learning – and not a lot of opportunity to sell L&D/T&D Services into that large Informal segment(s).

We Must Own It All – I Guess

The 10 isn’t enough. Not when there is 90% of a fertile field left to fallow.

Get the plows ready!

So we’ve encroached into the 70 – and we can help! with Formal Job Aids/Performance Support when you can’t find some Informal YouTube video that’ll tell you how to conduct yourself in the Enterprises’ Processes and Practices and get ‘er done.

And we’ve encroached into the 20 – from the “talk to your neighbor/ peer/ boss/ customer/ supplier, etc., Informally, and learn from what they have to tell you – with Structured OJT/Formal mentoring and coaching programs.

Me – I’d Park Structured OJT and Performance Support Back in the 10

That’s something I’d been doing since 1979. Without it being called The 10.

My first job out of college in August 1979 was at Wickes Lumber in Saginaw Michigan. We created Video-based T&D used in a Structured OJT design for management or experienced peers to facilitate to get the Learning Job done.

We used a derivative of a derivative of a Geary A. Rummler and Tom Gilbert approach to Analysis of Performance and the Knowledge/Skills to inform our Designs.

And we looked to provide Standalone Guidance 1st, Guidance within Instruction 2nd, and Instruction for Memorization 3rd.

All of that is Formal (or mostly formal) Instruction.

Guidance = Job Aids = Performance Support

Guidance was the term used by Rummler & Gilbert. In the 1960s.

Guidance Materials - Rummler-Gilbert at PRAXIS 1970

Job Aids was the term used by Joe Harless. In the 1970s.


Performance Support was the term used by Gloria Gery. In the 1990s.

Gloria Gery

Most 10 Before Most 20 Before Most 70

I worked for Wickes Lumber in Lawrence Kansas for 2.5 years while a college student, prior to going to HQ in Saginaw and joining Training Services.

I didn’t know squat (a technical term) about the Lumber Business prior to that Inside Sales job in Lawrence – 1976-1979.

I learned from my challenging assignment, from Al (the old guy who’d been there decades) and from some formal training.


This next certificate was for a course that covered selling basics, customer service, and covered some key product offerings. From this I learned how to sell kitchen cabinets, counter tops and sinks and faucets. Big ticket items.

I noticed that whenever customers went into that area of the store, with the kitchen cabinets, etc., other Inside Salespeople went the other way.


And while The Inside Sales Training Program gave me the basics, there was still a lot to learn – Informally.

But if it hadn’t been for that formal learning before the informal learning, I too might have headed out back to check inventory – or some other BS reason to not be in the cabinet area.

That’s why I have flipped the 70-20-10 Reference Model to 10-20-70 – or as I like to put it:

Most 10 Before Most 20 Before Most 70


If you must use the numbers – Flip It.

If not – use Ryan Tracey’s model.


When to do Formal (and do it right as performance-based Instruction) or when to leave it to Informal (and to chance)?

Let the Stakes Guide You

High Stakes have High Risks or High Rewards.


We Can Learn From Poorly Designed Content – But Well-Designed Content Is Mo Better


The Mode and Media is less important than the Content. Although the Performance itself and the Performance Context should guide in the selection of Mode and Media.

You don’t really learn how to steer into the skid from reading about it. You might be able to pass some quiz or test – but doing it in a scary situation – will probably require more than just reading about it.

We Don’t Own All Learning

We own the 10 – and by that I mean we own making it performance based and effective first, and efficient second. We own helping the learners/Performers achieve Performance Competence.

Webp.net-gifmaker (8)

Carry on.

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