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Discussion: How can 70:20:10 support a learning culture and enable a ‘learning organisation’?


This question was raised during our recent webinar.

Peter Senge’s concept of the ‘Learning Organization’, which he described in his tremendous 1990 book ‘The Fifth Discipline’, has five main characteristics:

  • systems thinking
  • personal mastery
  • mental models
  • shared vision
  • team learning

Senge described his concept of learning organisations as follows:

“…organizations where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning to see the whole together.”

A 70:20:10 strategy supports the development of a learning culture and enables the development of learning organisations by re-focusing organisational learning in a number of ways:

  • It brings learning and work together through using experiential (70) and social (20) approaches. This supports creation of a culture of continuous development
  • It links structured learning (10) into the workplace by focusing on performance outputs.
  • It supports the role of ‘leader as facilitator of development’, which enables flexibility and adaptability, two responses to change that Senge saw as vital.

Senge’s work stresses systems thinking - "a shift of mind from seeing parts to seeing wholes, from seeing people as helpless reactors to seeing them as active participants in shaping their reality, from reacting to the present to creating the future" (Senge 1990: 69).

A 70:20:10 strategy can help make this happen.

The Forum Toolkit* contains a number of resources to support the development of a ‘learning organisation’, including:

Link to Activity: Process for Establishing 70:20:10 Learning Principles 
(*Access: Implement Members)

Learning principles help provide a common language and understanding as part of the 70:20:10 change process. They also provide a clear direction and context for all learning across the organisation.

Link to Workshop: Learning & Performance Audit Toolkit 
(*Access: Implement Members)

This toolkit will help you assess the current status of your learning function and construct a plan based on maximum value creation. The learning and performance audit assessment template and associated checklist for improvement will help you identify the areas that need focus. 


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