I am an advocate of 70:20:10. I am on public record as a fan (just search my name on YouTube) and I have successfully implemented the methodology within business. You may therefore be surprised to hear I don’t believe the numbers. I would go so far to say, I don’t even agree with the numbers.
When Lombardo and Eichinger first came up with the theory and the numbers behind their wisdom I wonder if they realised what that would do for workplace learning. Did they mean for their theory to be an excuse for slash and burn in L&D departments. Did they expect budgets and staff to be cut? In latter years, the popular rise of 70:20:10, championed by Charles Jennings, has been an excuse for some businesses to ‘do’ the 70 and skip the 10. As an L&D practitioner myself I have twice been a victim of economic circumstances and found myself with a P45 as companies choose to rely on peer to peer learning only as a cheap option within 70:20:10.
I am an advocate of peer to peer learning. But it is not the answer on its own.
I am an advocate of face to face trainers; I am one, and have been for a long time. I know I add value to learners when we are together. But I also know I am not the only value a learner needs.
I am even, on occasion, an advocate of the more traditional and costly option of sending employees on classroom courses. I wouldn’t want a surgeon operating on me having learnt only via one element of 70:20:10. Eek!
But each of these interventions alone would never ever attract my advocacy. Each of these alone is not 70:20:10. Each of these alone are a one stop learning opportunity I call ‘Injection Education’ that leaves the learner stranded back the work place with no contextual workplace point of need support. I think by now we all know there is not one injection of learning which cures all for all people. Human beings are forgetful, Herr Ebbinghaus taught us that over 100 years ago, yet businesses everywhere expect their teams to function with only one element of 70:20:10 offered to them, be that a one off workshop, asking their neighbour or reading a manual. In the longer term that cannot work. We need all the numbers, the whole 100 for learning to be successful.
And so to the numbers. I don’t believe the numbers. I had an interesting chat with Charles Jennings recently following a social media debate he had on the numbers. A company had done some possibly debatable research to look at changing the numbers (in the spirit of fairness here is the link http://blog.lumesse.com/2014/08/less-than-5-of-companies-use-702010-as-their-learning-mix.html) and Charles countered very succinctly (link here http://charles-jennings.blogspot.co.uk/). It is not about the numbers, it was never about the numbers. The whole point of 70:20:10 is simply the blend, the holistic approach to offering whole place whole person learning. It is putting learning into the heart of a business through the workflow. It is about having a business culture with DNA of work is learning and learning is work. It is simply the antithesis of Injection Education. It is the whole 100, not the individual parts. Like anything it is a balance suited to you in your circumstances, not a one size fits all.
So yes, I am still an advocate of 70:20:10, and what I mean by that is I am an advocate of the whole 100, of blended, holistic, learner driven, workflow learning which is provided by a range of learning interventions including, where appropriate, face to face in house trainers, external open courses, peer to peer, social learning, social media, webinars, workbooks, experiential learning, quizzes, video, meetings, conferences (the list is endless). Quite a mouthful so I will stick to saying on record I am an advocate of 70:20:10, now you all know what I mean. I will go on record as saying I am not an advocate of elearning in its original guise, but that rant is for another blog.