70:20:10 views development as occurring through three basic types of activity:
Organisations have reported up to a
in training spend
through introduction of the 70:20:10 framework.
The 70:20:10 framework is rooted in research carried out through the 1980s at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) in North Carolina, and is generally acknowledged as the origin of the 70:20:10 numbers. The model emerged as a meme following the publication of research by Morgan McCall and his colleagues at CCL in the 1990s. Two of McCall’s co-researchers, Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger published the data from one study in their 1996 book ‘Career Architect Development Planner’ which revealed that lessons learned by successful and effective managers are roughly 70% from tough jobs, 20% from people (mostly the boss) and 10% from courses and reading.
Professor Allen Tough’s work on adult learning projects in the 1960s and 1970s found that the majority of adult learning was self-directed and occurred in the workplace. In researching adult learning and intentional change, Tough identified that ‘about 70% of all learning projects are planned by the learner himself’. Although Tough at the time didn’t refer to a 70:20:10 split, he later acknowledged that is what he found.
A further study published by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (1998) referencing research from 1993 and 1994 suggested that people learn about 70% of their jobs informally. Further studies supporting evidence that most learning occurs in the workplace includes one published by the Education Development Center in Massachusetts in 1997 following a two-year study involving Boeing, Ford Electronics, Siemens and Motorola.
The numbers and ratios are simply a short-hand to help explain that formal training and development plays only a part in the overall ecology of organisational learning and that experiential and social learning in the workplace provide the majority of learning opportunities and experiences.