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Implement the 70:20:10 Learning Principle at your workplace

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

On a dull Monday morning imagine sitting in your cubicle trying to figure out a problem, your boss has loaded you up with. What do you do? Ask your colleague sitting next to you who you know is good at this, Google it or directly approach your boss? Sounds familiar? Well, the 70:20:10 learning principle addresses exactly that. How do people learn and how to make them better learners?

What is the 70-20-10 Learning Principle?

Developed in the 1980s by Morgan McCall with the Centre for Creative Leadership, this principle essentially unfolds how people learn. It states that;

  1. 70% of the learning comes from on the job experience

  2. 20% from peer learning i.e. interaction with peers

  3. 10% from formal means like training and education

Although the figures are not set in stone, essentially close to 90% of what we learn comes from informal means. This isn’t new knowledge, as social learning has long been proved by multiple theories to offer higher effectiveness. 

Now, here is an interesting fact. Companies invest almost 70% of their training budget on formal means which are only 10% effective. What if you can make your employees 70% more engaged, by investing just 10% of your training cost? Sounds too good to be true? Not really if you learn to apply this concept successfully.

How to apply the 70:20:10 Learning Principle successfully?

Mr Willy Wonka from ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ is a likable character not only because he is a good human being, but also because he is a smart businessman. He became the most successful entrepreneur of his time because he applied the 70:20:10 principle at this company effectively. Let’s dive into the learnings he offered us;

1. Experiential learning

Creating challenges for your employees. Mr Wonka realised that dullness benefits no one, hence he made a challenging and gamified the work environment for his Oompa Loompas. Mr Wonka uses Augmented Reality, daily challenges to keep the work environment buzzing at all times. He also gives his Oompa Loompas creative freedom to make and display their creations and rewards them in cocoa beans which motivates them to do better.

2. Peer learning

Providing employees with a platform like BHyve which enables them to learn, work as a team and solve problems while being cost-efficient. Oompa Loompas work so well together as a team because they understand and apply peer learning.

3. Formal learning

According to the Training Industry Report, an average training budget for a small company amounts to $355,731 on an annual basis. The average training cost per employee 2018 comes to $1,096. This doesn’t mean you don’t train your employees, of course, you do. But you do it smartly, investing in peer learning platforms like BHyve which costs less but offers a higher ROI. Mr Wonka succeeded in achieving this tricky balance between formal and informal learning methods, which was certainly a contributing factor to his success. 

Learning technologies are transforming the employee experience across the world. Technology-first and People-first companies need to rethink initiatives and strategies that enhance employee engagement and unleash the best that your employees can offer to the company. With the 70:20:10 Learning Principle at your disposal, your employees can learn better and reach your organisational goals more effectively and efficiently. 

Wondering how to roll out a peer learning platform at your workplace? Talk to one of our organisational psychologists and learn how BHyve can be this change today. 


#learningampdevelopment #employeelearning #corporatelearning #peerlearning #learninganddevelopment #employeeengagement #702010learningprinciple

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