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70:20:10 model

70:20:10 – Free Training Model

Duration: As required.

Intended for:

Use this 70:20:10 model document as a method of updating personal knowledge on this model or during developmental training.

Training course contents:

A PowerPoint document, which shows an example of the 70:20:10 model with advice on the method of use can be downloaded from the link on this page.

About the Model

It is thought that the 70:20:10 model was based on the work of Morgan McCall, Robert Eichinger and Michael Lombardo who worked together at the Center for Creative Leadership in the 1980s. They developed the theory from interviewing a collection of senior executives who reflected on where they had gained their most meaningful learning throughout their careers. This data showed that 70% of their learning was from ‘tough jobs’, while 20% was from ‘people (mostly the boss)’ and 10% was from ‘courses and reading’.

The 70:20:10 model was popularised by the consultant Charles Jennings and is based on further development of the idea that most learning comes through workplace experience rather than more formal learning such as classroom based events or online training. Jennings states that the model should be used for reference rather than as a formula, as the percentages of 70% (workplace learning), 20% (informal and social learning) and 10% (formal learning) can fluctuate depending on the circumstances.

The debate about 70:20:10

70:20:10 has become very popular over the last few years and has been adopted by many organisations, although there is a lot of debate as to how well they have been able to implement it. It’s not hard to see why the model is popular with businesses who see it as an easy model to understand that places the emphasis of learning on the learner rather than programmes and events that are ‘managed’ by learning professionals and may find it difficult to demonstrate return on investment.

Some recent research by DDI supports a view that 70/20/10 needs revision. DDI did a survey of 13,000 leaders and asked them what experiences had contributed to their expertise, where had they learned the most and how they allocate their learning time.  Their results, published in the Global Leadership Forecast 2014/2015 found that rather than 70:20:10 the leaders actually spent 55% (on the job), 25% (learning from others in the work place) and 20% formal learning. These results show a doubling of formal learning and a drop in informal experiential learning which, while supporting Charles Jennings thoughts that the model should be used for reference, does also throw the headline figures into some dispute.

It’s also worth noting that the rise of the internet, mobile learning and other technological advances could alter the 70:20:10 figures even further.


The download on this page provides a developmental tool, which is useful for training courses and meetings.

70:20:10 – Free Training Model


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