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Research Debunks the Myths and Shows the Impact of the 70:20:10 Model for Organisational Learning

London, UKLearning NewsTowards Maturity

Global learning expert Charles Jennings teams up with research and benchmarking organisation Towards Maturity to debunk myths surrounding the 70:20:10 model for organisational learning.


Uncertainty about the efficacy of new learning models – such as 70:20:10 – is stopping organisations from adopting approaches more suited to the way that modern workers learn what they need to do their jobs, according to latest research from Towards Maturity.

90% percent of employees in this study say that collaboration is essential or very useful to do their job, versus 37% rating formal learning. However, only 47% of L&D professionals say their approach is shaped by models such as 70:20:10, that support collaborative learning directly in the flow of work.

This is partly due to myths that have grown up around the model, according to research co-author and 70:20:10 expert Charles Jennings: "Changing workplace dynamics have meant that L&D is now increasingly looking to embrace the ideas behind the 70:20:10 model. However, as interest has increased, a number of myths around it have gained momentum and distracted L&D from focusing on the holistic ‘100’ needed to deliver individual and organisational performance."

The report, 70+20+10=100: The Evidence Behind the Numbers, debunks six myths associated with 70:20:10 using Towards Maturity Benchmark™ data from learners and L&D leaders. These myths are:

  1. There is no evidence for the positive effect of 70:20:10
  2. L&D should try to ‘achieve' a ratio of 70:20:10
  3. 70:20:10 implies that formal courses don’t work
  4. 70:20:10 is a ‘rule’, ‘law’ or a ‘learning theory’ and ‘the numbers are fixed’
  5. Adapting or building courses to include elements of social and workplace learning is ‘doing’ 70:20:10
  6. 70:20:10 is just a way to cut costs

Counter to these assumptions, Towards Maturity data shows that the organisations applying new models such as 70:20:10 are consistently reporting more benefits than those who are not. They are at least:

  • Four times more likely to respond faster to business change (30% vs. 7%)
  • Three times more likely to report improvements in staff motivation (27% vs. 8%)
  • Twice more likely to report improvements in customer satisfaction scores (42% vs. 18%)

The study found that those implementing 70:20:10 as a strategy are not only redefining the way they are supporting formal education, but are also actively encouraging staff to learn through experience and exposure to wider networks. Furthermore, organisations adopting 70:20:10 are balancing their learning delivery across all three activities as outlined in the model.*

For example, organisations that are proactively implementing 70:20:10 are four times more likely to provide staff with access to job aids than those that are not. They are also more likely to work with managers to actively support learning and are eight times more likely to encourage staff to work together to solve problems using social media.

Laura Overton, Founder and CEO of Towards Maturity, adds, "Over the years, we have used our Benchmark to explore the extent to which activities within the 70:20:10 framework are both understood and applied. What is clear from this detailed analysis, is that organisations active in each of these three areas are delivering better results than those who are not. Despite the evidence, many L&D professionals and their business leaders still see the course as their only option for improving performance. This new study shows that clearly has to change!"

As well as debunking the myths surrounding 70:20:10, the report provides practical steps to help L&D teams embed 70:20:10 into everyday practice.

The results have been welcomed by the wider learning industry. Martin Baker, founder and CEO of the Corporate eLearning Consortium, comments: "Finally, we have some independent research that shows how 70:20:10 is making the impact that both business and L&D leaders are looking for. It goes further – it also helps identify the skills needed by managers and L&D leaders to turn the benefits of applying 70:20:10 into reality."

Claudio Erba, CEO of Docebo, adds, "People learn and retain more through informal channels than they do through more formal means. This study presents a clear case for not only adopting the 70:20:10 framework, but for establishing a deeper-level workplace culture that’s powered by social and informal learning."

The report, 70+20+10=100: The Evidence Behind the Numbers, is free to download, thanks to the support of the Corporate eLearning Consortium and Docebo at:




Notes to editors

*The 70:20:10 framework was originally highlighted by McCall, Lombardo and Eichinger in a study with managers from the Centre of Creative leadership showing that:

  • 70% of learning comes from real life and on-the-job experiences, tasks and problem solving.

  • 20% comes from feedback and from observing and working with others

  • 10% comes from formal training such as classes or courses (both face-to-face and online) and reading

Data drawn from 600 L&D and 1,600 learners around the globe who took part in the 2015 Towards Maturity Benchmark Study, Embracing Change, which can be downloaded at

About 70:20:10 Institute

The 70:20:10 Institute works collaboratively with organisations across the world to exploit the potential of 70:20:10. The Institute is open, collaborative and inclusive in nature. We partner with businesses and not-for-profits that are supporting 70:20:10 and with L&D departments and other parts of organisations that are using 70:20:10. We also partner with experts across the world whose work is leading the way to extend beyond formal learning.

About Corporate eLearning Consortium

The Corporate eLearning Consortium delivers workplace learning that works, by putting the needs of leaders and managers first. Our online Toolkit for Managers inspires more than a million managers and is the perfect resource to support 70:20:10 initiatives. We also help L&D professionals achieve their goals with our unique online 70:20:10 Practitioner Programme, an approved ILM programme.

Learn more at:

About Docebo

Docebo’s Cloud-based, Software-as-a-Service Enterprise LMS is sold in more than 80 countries. Established in 2005, Docebo (Latin for “I will teach”) has more than 28,000 installations and offers an enterprise solution for mid-size to large organizations. Customers benefit from Docebo solutions thanks to a scalable pricing model, third-party integrations and reliable service available 24/7 for an unparalleled user experience.