A Guide to the 70-20-10 Model in Learning and Development

What is the 70-20-10 model? Read this article to discover how the 70-20-10 model can boost learning and development.

Office Workers« Back to Articles

To be successful in the modern world of competitive business, employers must invest in training and development to make sure they get the most out of their staff. To be able to provide a beneficial training program, understanding how people learn and catering to a range of learning styles is essential.

The 70-20-10 model is a framework for learning and development that can provide optimum results by combining formal educational training, peer learning, and on-the-job learning.

Definition of the 70-20-10 Learning Model

The 70-20-10 learning model emerged in the 1980s after a survey asked 200 executives to state how they best learned. The results demonstrated that:

• 70% of learning came from experience garnered on the job.
• 20% of learning came from social interactions with others.
• 10% of learning came from formal education and training.

In short, this method provides an integrated learning model that is adaptable and can be built upon and developed within each organisation to suit the needs of the people within.

Components of the 70-20-10 Model

The 70%: Experiential learning through on-the-job experiences

On-the-job training, projects, and experiences make up 70% of the learning that takes place in the workplace. Experiencing real problems and decisions allows employees to apply their knowledge, learn from their mistakes, and try new ideas in real-world situations.

The 20%: Learning through social interactions

Learning through social interactions is an effective way to learn and grow, since experience and knowledge are shared in a way that builds relationships and interpersonal skills. In this method, learning comes from managers and peers in the form of mentoring, feedback, or coaching.

The 10%: Learning through education and formal training

Education and formal training is an essential and more traditional form of learning. Learning the theory before it’s put into practice gives staff the backbone to build upon.

Formal training often focuses on a specific area of knowledge or skills that will help employees improve their overall performance. This could be in a classroom, workshop, meeting via a conference, or through an online learning program.

Benefits of the 70-20-10 Model in Mentorship

The 70-20-10 model benefits both employers and employees alike. Here we’ll look at five key benefits in more detail.

Ensures that mentees receive a well-rounded education

Delivering learning in a variety of ways ensures that theory and practice work together. Formal learning provides the foundation for development, whilst social learning and experience-based learning give employees the chance to have things explained in context and put their knowledge into practice.

Allows mentees to acquire skills for growth and leadership

Learning on the job means employees can learn by trial and error. If employees only learn in a formal way, they would miss out on certain nuances or problems that occur outside of the rigid curriculum. Similarly, it would be very difficult to tackle a job well without any theoretical knowledge.

Learning from peers and seniors can be a valuable way to develop and even acquire leadership skills for the future, as employees will be able to pick up on best practices demonstrated by others.

Flexible and adaptable to diverse mentoring contexts

People learn in different ways; implementing the 70-20-10 model gives employees the best chance of growing and developing because it covers a range of learning styles. Employees generally feel more empowered because the delivery of training varies to suit their needs.

Because learning in this way is adaptable, it can take place at any time under the mentoring and guidance of a range of people within the organisation. This means that staff can train quicker, which helps them to become productive faster.

Enables the assessment of progress and growth

Because employees are working as they learn, peers and leaders can spot minor errors and gaps in knowledge as they occur and correct them straight away. Progress can be assessed as employees learn and training can be redone, altered, or even progressed if required.

Provides opportunities for mentee experiential learning

Learning on the job is a way for employees to get closer to the action and push their skills and knowledge further because it promotes critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making. Social and formal learning are there to enhance and support experiential learners if they have difficulties on the job.

Implementation of the 70-20-10 Model

To put the 70-20-10 model into place, leaders need to have a good understanding of the business overall and the goals it aims to achieve, as well as what employers require from employees to support its success. Here are four steps to consider when implementing:

Assess current learning practices

Having an understanding of current learning practices, including the objectives and results, will help leaders to plan improvements and identify gaps that can form the basis of the 70-20-10 model implementation.

As part of careful planning, good knowledge of the learning needs of staff is essential in order to allocate resources effectively.

Design and develop learning paths

By adapting the model to suit the needs of staff, leaders can create new learning pathways that best target areas of weakness. It’s also important to provide a range of new experiences to ensure a broad curriculum of study for staff. This will ensure the model provides the best possible solution.

Leveraging the use of technology

Technology can play a huge role in the implementation of learning development models. Mobile or online learning means that trainees can access courses remotely at any time, on any day. This can speed up the process but also streamline content, delivery, and assessment.

There are also many applications available that support business training efforts, such as payroll software for small business needs, which include features such as time tracking, HR assistance, and tips to enable an element of monitoring and training for employees who are learning to use it.

Monitor and evaluate performance

Monitoring performance is a crucial part of implementing the model. The learning experiences of staff should be reviewed and refined to ensure people are getting the most out of learning. Staff surveys, on-the-job monitoring, productivity, and errors can also be assessed to determine whether the training is working.


The 70-20-10 model has been around since the 1980s and is still used today. However, ensuring the model suits the workplace culture and meets the objectives of the business is a crucial part of the implementation process that could determine the success or failure of the system.

Allowing people to learn in a range of ways means catering to a range of learning needs. This can ensure a wider reach of communication, greater staff motivation, and a sense of belonging as well as higher engagement than a one-size-fits-all-all approach.

Investing in training and development is a great way to ensure the success of your business.

Author Bio

Jesse Liszka is the Senior Communications Specialist at Paylocity, leading providers of cloud-based payroll and human capital management software. She is a highly experienced communications, client marketing and content specialist, with more than 12 years of experience. You can find her on LinkedIn.

Welcome to PushFar, the world's largest mentoring platform. Whether you're looking to find a mentor or launch your own mentoring programs and schemes, we can help.
Looking for a mentor or to become a mentor?
Join Now Free Running your own mentoring programs?
Request a Demo

Explore more articles...

Similar mentoring, career progression and learning articles and resources by PushFar, you might like to read.

Go Further, with PushFar.

What are you looking for in your mentoring journey?
Individual Mentoring - Join Free
Organisation Solutions - Request a Demo