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How online platforms help trainers survive in a 70:20:10 world

As a trainer or an instructional designer, you might think you are there to improve the knowledge or the skills of the employees you train. It’s a nice thought, but usually you’re being paid for the impact that you have on yourclient’s business. With that in mind the (not so new anymore) 70:20:10 model and new technological developments like learning platforms offer interesting opportunities.

The 70:20:10 model is a performance-oriented approach, not a training methodology. The priority is not learning, but obtaining the desired organizational performance improvement. It can actually be used as a framework to support making the transition from learning to business value. The model was created in the 1980s by the Center for Creative Leadership. It holds that individuals obtain 70 percent of their knowledge from job-related experiences, 20 percent from interactions with others, and 10 percent from formal learning (like the training you might be providing). Now you could argue that even the 10% is way off but we’re not worried about the exact numbers. It is a model to structure new ways of thinking, acting and learning.

The internet and its ability to share and collaborate in safe and private environments, has given the traditional trainer the ability to reach outside the classroom (the “formal” 10% in the model) and to connect to the day-to-day activities of the employees.  

Learning platforms with a focus on collaboration and communication, help instructional designers and trainers reach out into those places where the highest performance improvements can be made (the “job-related experiences” 70%) even without their physical presence. Places they often could not reach before. A learning platform allows trainers to support employees while doing their job, whether that is in an office, in a factory, at home or on the road.

Sharing and evaluating work experiences can be done online with coworkers (the “interactions with others” 20%). Thanks to online tools, trainers are able to monitor and moderate at least some of these interactions which not only extends the work of the traditional trainer but also informs the trainer of what is really happening at work.

Though the amount of face-to-face sessions may change it doesn’t imply that face-to-face training is a thing of the past. It remains an important task for trainers to teach and inspire; just like it remains essential for employees to take a step back to reflect, to learn and to be motivated.

Learning platforms allow the trainer to link face-to-face learning directly to the employees job (something self-paced eLearning never could). The trainer will be better informed and because of that better equipped to act on real working situations of the employees. 

You can argue that due to online channels, the original 10% of formal learning (if it was ever that high) will drop. But not to worry! Trainers can re-invent themselves and can reach employees in places where they had no access before. And along the way, they can show the customer a positive return on their learning and development investment.
And what better promotion for themselves can trainers wish for?


Further reading:

The 70:20:10 Model for Learning and Development,

70/20/10 Model (Learning and Development)

Cracking the Code of 70:20:10 by Jos Arets

5 Myths About 70:20:10, by Jos Arets

Analysing 70/20/10: can we make a difference to the 90% of learning that we can’t control? by Jo Ayoubi

70:20:10 – Myth or Legend?, by Gary Wise



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