Foo Foo About: 70-20-10

Here are some online resources about this Foo Foo/ Myth…

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The 70:20:10 Learning Model: A Path to the Past


This post arose from Tom Spiglanin’s post and comments on Revisiting 70:20:10.

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From ATD…

70:20:10: Where Is the Evidence?

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The 70:20:10 model is flavour of the month, according to the UK Learning Trends Index  July 9, 2015

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70:20:10 –
The Right Ratio…Or So We All Thought

Findings from the DDI Global Leadership Forecast 2014|2015

70:20:10 fact or myth? We couldn’t find any recent supporting research, and we wanted to learn more about these magic numbers. What we found might just surprise you: in reality, leaders spend their time on—and prefer—a different ratio. See how leaders actually spend their time, and the ratio that proves most effective.

Get the full list of findings from the Global Leadership Forecast 2014|2015.

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Is 70:20:10 Relevant Today? Or Are We Living in the Past? – Part 1

By Tacy Byham, Ph.D.

I have three numbers that are bothering me. They relate to 70:20:10, but those aren’t my three vexing numbers.  Instead, the first number is 10,000. If you’ve read “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell, you undoubtedly recognize this as the number of hours it takes to go from novice to expert. Let’s contrast this against my second number: 66. This is the newly updated number of days it takes to form a habit. Yes, that’s right, 66 days to start something (like make a habit of an exercise routine) or stop something (like quit that smoking habit). Finally, there’s the number 31. Thirty-one represents the number of training hours, per the Association for Talent Development (ATD, formerly ASTD), that organizations spend annually to develop their leaders.

For the rest of the post – please go – here.

Is 70:20:10 Relevant Today? Or Are We Living in the Past? – Part 2

By Tacy Byham, Ph.D.

In part 1 of this blog series I introduced the numbers 10,000, 66, and 31, and the fact that they simply don’t add up. Now let’s discuss three often heard questions about 70:20:10.

For the rest of the post – please go – here.

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From Don Clark – a.k.a.: Big Dog Little Dog:  70-20-10: Is it a Viable Learning Model? 

Some have been calling for 70-20-10 to be the new learning model for across the organization, however, since is a prescriptive remedy for developing managers to senior and executive positions, it does not mean that it is a useful model for developing skills in the daily learning and work flows that takes place within organizations because it is being applied in an entirely different context than what it was designed for.

Parts or perhaps all of 70-20-10 may be useful for developing professionals other than senior managers, but since the learning ratios vary greatly between various groups of learners (and even individual learners within a group), one has to be very careful about taking this approach.

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More from Don Clark – Lingering Doubts About the 70:20:10 Model

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From Ben Betts: The Ubiquity of Informal Learning: Beyond the 70/20/10 Model

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From Clive Shepherd: Beware who’s selling informal learning

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From Nick J Howe – Let’s kill a few learning holy cows – 70:20:10 is dead (or at least seriously ill)

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From Michael Stanford – The Curse of 70-20-10

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From: Robin Hoyle turns mythbuster for TrainingZone – We can all give up – 70:20:10 has arrived

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From Andrew Leigh: Urban Myth of the 70/20/10 rule

One thing seems certain though, the 70/20/10 rule is more akin to an urban myth. It suits an era in which investing in proper experiential learning can be conveniently attacked on cost grounds, rather than its effectiveness.

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From KELLY KAJEWSKI70:20:10: buzzword or effective learning approach?

The paper looks at the 70:20:10 model with the aim of demystifying it, addressing its origin and giving some practical examples of how it is being used in different organisations. It explores different views including the interpretations, applications, challenges and benefits of using 70:20:10 and how it can be refined to suit the needs of individual organisations.

Download the 70:20:10 White Paper

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From DDI: 70:20:10 – The Right Ratio…Or So We All Thought

Findings from the Global Leadership Forecast 2014|2015

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From Tom Gram: Everyday Experience is Not Enough

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On LinkedIn: From Rosemary Lynn • In A Discussion in the Group: Chief Learning Officer Magazine (excerpted March 29, 2012)

Nick J Howe blogs that 70-20-10 is not empirical.

Here is an excerpt from his blog:
Dr Doug Lynch asked a couple of simple questions: (a) is 70:20:10 true, and (b) if so how do we know? Everyone in the learning space seems to assume (a) is true, but we all get a bit vague about (b). The answer to (b) is almost always “because I read it in ____ (insert your favorite training magazine title here)”. Doug therefore set his post-grad students a simple challenge: find the source of the 70:20:10 concept.

The following is taken from information presented by Doug at the 2010 Global Leadership Congress organized by the Corporate University Exchange.

If you google “70:20:10″ you get 2.25m hits. That’s right, 2.25m. Hits are split between the education model, and the business resource management model of the same name
“Informal learning” gets you 402,000 hits, as of the time of writing this post.
* was the subject of the 2009 ASTD study, “Tapping the Potential of Informal Learning”

There is even a Wikipedia article

Informal learning has been covered in just about every training publication and in the mainstream media, including the Harvard Business Review –  The problem is that almost no-one, including the Wikipedia article and HBR cites the original research for 70:20:10 applied to education.

So what does the research have to say on 70:20:10?

If you step away from the mainstream, you get 46,800 hits with in Google Scholar

If you drill down to what might be called ‘authoritative sources’, things get a little narrower. There are a grand total of 46 EBSCO (Peer reviewed) Articles

If you examine the peer reviewed articles, there is not one single empirical study that validates 70:20:10

That’s right. Not one. (I hope someone out there can prove me – or rather Doug – wrong on this one)

70:20:10 was never researched; it was conceptualized by Tough in 1968 and put forward as a hypothesis.

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Will Constantine

Recently I had the opportunity to speak to a Fortune 500 company about their learning strategy. Like many companies, they adapted their strategy from an existing model and used it to fit their organization. One of those models was the 70-20-10 rule of thought. While I did like their use of the model I didn’t like the misconceptions the model gave.

It wasn’t the first I had heard of it, but the first time that I saw it being used in an actual organization. As I discovered more about it I realized that I liked the recognition of all the available learning means to a learner and not necessarily the model itself. I decided to do some more research about it just to back up my own opinion.

There is a whole backchannel of articles and information that I found on 70-20-10 from Guy Wallace that you might find insightful.

Basically what I found was that 70-20-10 is really a prescriptive remedy for managers to be developed into senior managers & executives. But I don’t see it useful for daily learning workflows. It really separates each modality into sections and pushes the use of staying in line with those numbers. I don’t think that you should follow this as a rule of thumb with today’s learning strategies. To conform to these numbers would be, in the words of Will Thalheimer, making it more bogus and dangerous.

Another interesting thing that I didn’t think of was the Amplifier Effect which says that formal training actually clarifies and boosts the 90% of informal training. Then I think of the role performance support plays in this. I think that it supports that boost and clarification to translate to actual use of the training on the job (formal training should also relate to the context of the job if you have designed it effectively, but that is another story). To me it seems that this is more of a reflective trend in learning versus the go-to model to follow. All three work together, it doesn’t make one more important than the other. Is it simply the state of learning or is it an actual validation?

I will end this post with a quote from Michael Stanford in his article, Curse of 70-20-10.

“70-20-10? How about 100. Every learning experience, whether it takes place in a structured setting or in the chaos of every day work, should apply a disciplined learning mindset to real-world challenges.”

I agree with this statement because now more than ever learning should be embedded into the context of the actual work that is being done. I also think that learning in an organization, as we know it is still evolving more and more each year as we are discovering new ways to make learning more nimble for the workforce.


(see original post here)

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My Blog Posts About “Other Just as Valid Segmentations”


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Fight the Foo Foo

My book about HPT for managers without using that jargon!
Click on graphic to enlarge.
For more info about this book, please go – here.

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Please add other links – to “research” and not just “opinions” – either in agreement or in disagreement – in the comments sections below.

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3 comments on “Foo Foo About: 70-20-10

  1. Pingback: 70-20-10? … As Always – It Depends. | EPPIC - Pursuing Performance

  2. Pingback: My Encounter With 70-20-10 | LearnHaus

  3. Pingback: Learning – It Used To Be 100% Informal – No? | EPPIC – Pursuing Performance

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