top of page

How to learn and structure your learning in the workplace?

Perhaps you have wondered how to learn and structure your learning in the workplace through an evidence based approach. Have you heard of the 70:20:10 model? No?

Well, the 70:20:10 model was created in the 1980s by three researchers and authors working with the Center for Creative Leadership, a nonprofit educational institution in Greensboro, N.C. The three, Morgan McCall, Michael M. Lombardo and Robert A. Eichinger, were researching the key developmental experiences of successful managers.

This model is often implemented by organisations to structure their employees' learning journey. However, I think it can be adapted by us personally to give us some ideas around how to structure and break down learning for ourselves.

The model suggests that we learn as follows:

  • 70% we learn through practice

  • 20% we learn through people

  • 10% we learn through programs

Learning through Practice

What is learning through practice about?

About 70% of learning and development (practice) occurs through real life and on the job experiences, tasks and problem solving. Even with classroom programs the really important learning takes place back on the job when the knowledge or skill is applied to a real situation.

What types of development actives are in the Practice?

The types of 'Learning through Practice' activities that you can carry out to support your development include:

Expanding the scope of work:

  • take on responsibility

  • increase span of control

  • increase decision-making authroity

  • substitute for manager in meetings

  • take part in co-ordinated swaps and secondments

  • develop specific expertise gaps

Learning 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

Learning through new experiences:

  • champion and/or manage changes

  • cover for others on annual leave/holiday/sick leave

  • gain exposure to other departments/roles (ask to shadow colleagues who work in these departments/roles)

  • work with a recognised expert internally

  • take part in a project or working group

  • take on stretch assignments

  • increase interaction with senior management (ask to attend meetings, prepare and deliver presentations)

  • participate in cross functional introductions, site/customers visits

  • research and apply best practice

  • work with consultants or internal experts

  • exploit opportunities for internal/external speaking engagements

  • take a role in annual budgeting processes

  • take part in project reviews

  • take on community activities and volunteers

Learning through People

What is learning through People about?

About 20% of learning and development comes from coaching, feedback and from observing and working with role models and colleagues?

What types of development activities are offered in the 'Learning through People' area?

  1. Attend internal or external CPD events, speakers, attend internal personal development workshops and programs if offered where you work, attend networking opportunities etc

  2. Consider mentoring where you ask for a mentor and consider reverse mentoring where you volunteer someone else (usually a younger person mentors an older person).

Other types 'People' activities that you can carry out to support your development include:


  • seek informal feedback and work debriefs

  • seek advice, ask opinions, sound out ideas

  • obtain coaching from managers/others

  • use 360 degree feedback tools and process/or simply select a few stakeholders and colleagues you work with and ask for feedback directly

  • use management/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 components of their jobs

  • establish or join online professional communities

Communities and sharing:

  • proactively learn through teams/networks

  • curate and share what you are doing with colleagues

  • build internal and external personal networks/contacts

  • play active role in professional/industry associations

  • participate in facilitated group discussions

Learning through Programs

What is the content of Programs?

About 10% of learning and development (Programs) comes from formal training, whether in classrooms and workshops or through e-learning or some other structured programs. This is what we can Learning through programs.

What types of development activities are within 'Learning through Programs'?

The types of Learning through Programs activities that you can carry out to support your development include:

  • courses, workshops, seminars

  • e-learning courses and e-learning modules

  • a blend of classroom and e-courses

  • professional qualifications/accreditation

  • certification

  • formal education e.g. university, business school

Next steps

You can discuss all this with your line manager and populate in your personal development plan, you can download a Free template from my Digital Store.

If you have any personal queries, you can always book a coffee call with me here.

Best wishes


41 views0 comments


bottom of page