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Practical Examples of the 70, 20 & 10

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‘Real’ Learning

We now know that ‘real’ learning is best defined in terms of behaviour change. Like other animals, human learning occurs as a consequence of interaction with our environment.

In humans we can distil the conditions for real learning as being the outcome of a combination of four activities:

  1. Exposure to rich experiences

  2. The opportunity to practice

  3. Conversation and exchanges with others

  4. Reflective practice and reflection

70:20:10 and Development

70:20:10 views development of an individual as occurring through three basic types of activity:

  • Experience: learning and developing through day-to-day tasks, challenges, and practice.
  • Exposure: learning and developing with and through others from informal coaching, exploiting personal networks and other collaborative and co-operative actions.
  • Education: learning and developing through structured courses and programs

Practical examples of the 70, the 20 and the 10

The table below provides examples of some of the common development activities that might be considered in each category.

70 – Learn & Develop Through Experience

Expand the scope of work

  • Take on new responsibilities
  • Increase span of control
  • Increase decision-making authority
  • Substitute for manager in meetings
  • Take on managerial responsibilities

Learn through solving real problems

  • Participate in a group to solve a real business problem
  • Apply new learning in real situations
  • Use feedback to try a new approach to an old problem
  • Take on new work and solving problems within role
  • Introduce new techniques and approaches

Learn through new experiences

  • Champion and/or manage changes
  • Cover for others on leave
  • Gain exposure to other departments/roles
  • Work with a recognised expert
  • Take part in project or working group
  • Participate in coordinated role swaps or secondments
  • Take on stretch assignments
  • Increase interaction with senior management, e.g. meetings, presentations
  • Make time for day-to-day research and reading
  • Assume leadership activities, e.g. lead a team, committee membership, executive directorships
  • Participate in cross functional introductions, site/customer visits
  • Research and apply best practice
  • Apply standards and processes, e.g. Six Sigma
  • Work with consultants or internal experts
  • Exploit opportunities for internal/external speaking engagements
  • Take a role in annual budgeting processes
  • Carry out interviews
  • Take part in project reviews
  • Take on community activities and volunteering

20 – Learn & Develop Through Others


  • Seek informal feedback and work debriefs
  • Seek advice, ask opinions, sound out ideas
  • Obtain coaching from manager/others
  • Use 180 and 360 feedback tools and processes
  • Use manager/report 1-to-1 meetings for reflection

Structured mentoring and coaching

  • Take on a mentoring role / get a mentor
  • Engage in reverse mentoring
  • Teach colleagues how to do a component of their jobs
  • Establish or join online professional communities

Communities and Sharing

  • Proactively learn through teams/networks
  • Narrate work / maintain a blog
  • Curate and share what you’re doing with colleagues
  • Build internal and external personal networks/contacts
  • Play active role in professional/industry associations
  • Participate in facilitated group discussion
  • Participate in Action Learning sets

10 - Learn & Develop Through Structured Courses

  • Courses, workshops, seminars
  • eLearning courses and modules
  • Professional qualifications / accreditation
  • Certification
  • Formal education, e.g. University, Business School


The specific details of every implementation plan will be dependent on organisational context. A common trap for people new to the framework is to focus too quickly on the specific solutions that will be developed and implemented (i.e. coaching program, social networks).

It is important to consider the bigger picture as there is a significant difference between a one off solution and a strategic approach. Ideally we want to use 70:20:10 as a strategic lever for change; creating a strategic learning function and supporting the transition to a workplace learning culture.

You must consider the strategic outcomes you are hoping to achieve, before you get into the details of specific solutions. These will come as a result of your detailed action plans you create and the ongoing performance analysis that will drive holistic solutions.

Explore the other sections of the Forum toolkit to help shape your view on the broader considerations for creating and implementing a 70:20:10 strategy.

Copyright © 70:20:10 Forum 2016. We encourage you to share our freely accessibly Content, however we do not allow extraction, unauthorised use and/or duplication of this Content without express written permission from 70:20:10 Forum. See our terms and conditions


Currently developing a "menu of development opportunites" to support our development planning process, with the 70:20:10 framework.  This has been a great resource for ideas on specific activites!!!

This a great resource in approaching the design of a new learning experience. Some great ideas, which seems so logical now that I read them. I can see we have been doing some of these for a while now however not really registering that they are part of the 70:2010 model.

In developing a 'Practical HR' strategy, program, activities and tools for managers, my discussions reveal what we all know: managers are keen to use simple tools to improve their practice. I'm hoping to develop such a tool for the proposed program which provides a checklist and self-reflection guide for managers in a context of supportive messaging: "You are already doing some of these things; the key is to identify other experiential activities you can use, utilise your senior experts as coaches and the team itself, to be involved in the learning opportunities > to build ideas, opportunities and performance, and to save time and save your sanity!"

This type of messaging I think reminds managers that they are not alone and don't have to do everything themselves in creating a learning culture to build high performance: as identified above the critical tool is to enlist ALL the resources at hand and create the opportunities for individuals (i.e. modelling the learning behaviour, providing 'permissions',  enlisting one's '2ICs' and high performers (which is a '70' activity in itself!), taking a team approach, and setting up the talent management/HR activities as part of the learning process).


Once I have a draft checklist drafted, I will certainly share.

This was an invaluable resource for us when rolling out our Your Development programme in April of this year. Your Development places emphasis on individuals to take ownership of their own learning and development whilst introducing them to the 70:20:10 framework. This resource gave us ideas for the types of activities we could offer our workforce as part of the Your Development programme. it also allowed us to anticipate the types of activities our workforce may request and assess the challenges of providing these. It also enabled us to anticipate guidance where perhaps there wasn't any for example volunteering has been a popular request so we are finalising our volunteering policy now with a view to being able to support staff who wish to voounteer in the local community.


We used elements of this resource at the Your Development launch event and it helped individuals to put the framework into context and come up with their own ideas for activities that would aid their development. We used this article as a basis for a group discussion activity, asking staff how we could take forward some of the examples. We shared examples on presentations and we also made some interactive modules for hosting on our social learning platform for staff to use to reflect on the event and focus on their development plans at a later date.


The toolkit was adequate for our purposes but i am not sure how transferrable it would be to say oil/gas/off-shore workers or those in a more specialised skill sector. I'd recommend anyone else looking to use this toolkit to do so but take time to ensure appropriate guidance is in place for any topics that are new. Our experience has been that staff were very keen to start putting plans together and to organise their activities so we've had to ensure the appropriate support and guidance is available to line managers looking to support staff requests.

As with many other people on the forum we found this resource particularly useful.  The Organisational development team had been talking about and thinking about 70:20:10 for some time before we got to the stage that we were ready to introduce the model to all staff.

This resource provided us with the ‘first steps’ information we needed to make the model simple and real to staff.

Staff were excited about the opportunities for all their learning to be recognised, particularly because we work in an environment where a significant number of staff are skilled at self directed learning and this was not always recognised within our ‘training’ model.

The risk we did need to recognise and manage was that people would become overly focused on the formula.

It is also difficult for staff to alter their understanding of workplace learning.  Telling staff the practical examples is helpful and certainly creates excitement in the early stages, however, it takes line management support and recognition of the activities.  With busy workloads staff will not always prioritise time for reflection.  The 70 and 20 can get ‘lost’ and only the ‘10’ understood and valued. Performance conversations between line manager and staff member need to be conducted in a way that encompasses the aims of a ‘learning culture’.

The practical examples are a good starting point to support in an organisational change programme, the successful implementation of the programme will require time investment from staff and an evolving set of support tools from the project implementation team through to the business team.