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Imagine a world where professionals effortlessly adapt to the rapid changes and challenges of the modern business landscape, driving innovation and success at every turn. The key to unlocking this potential lies in an effective learning and development program that goes beyond traditional classroom-based training. In this post, we will explore the importance of a holistic approach to learning, empowering organizations to cultivate a resilient and adaptable workforce ready to conquer the ever-evolving business environment.

The 70-20-10 Model for Learning and Development offers an approach balancing hands-on experience, social learning, and formal education to create a well-rounded learning ecosystem. In this post, we will explore the 70-20-10 Model, discuss its benefits across industries, and offer guidance on how to implement this Model in your organization.

Understanding the 70-20-10 Model

70% Hands-on experience

Importance of applying new knowledge to real-world situations

Research consistently demonstrates the effectiveness of experiential learning in promoting skill retention and mastery (Kolb, 1984). By engaging in hands-on tasks and projects, learners can directly apply new knowledge to real-world situations, helping them internalize concepts and refine their skills. This hands-on experience enables professionals to develop a deeper understanding of their work. It enhances their ability to respond to complex challenges.

Kolb Learning Cycle and it's application on the 70-20-10 Learning Model

Reinforcement and refinement of skills

Experiential learning also provides opportunities for continuous feedback and improvement. As professionals encounter new situations, they can test their skills and receive feedback from their peers, supervisors, and mentors. This ongoing cycle of practice, feedback, and adjustment allows learners to refine their skills and build confidence in their abilities.

The Effectiveness of Experiential Learning in Executive Development

A study by the Center for Creative Leadership (McCall, Lombardo, & Morrison, 1988) found that successful executives attributed 70% of their learning to challenging assignments and on-the-job experiences, reinforcing the importance of hands-on experience in professional development.

20% Social learning

Coaching and mentoring

Social learning plays a critical role in fostering skill development and professional growth. Coaching and mentoring programs connect learners with experienced practitioners who can share insights, offer guidance, and provide valuable feedback. These relationships enable learners to draw on the expertise of others and accelerate their learning journey.

Learning from experienced practitioners

In addition to coaching and mentoring, social learning can take the form of informal discussions, collaborative projects, and shared problem-solving. By interacting with colleagues and experts in their field, learners can gain new perspectives, challenge their assumptions, and uncover novel solutions to complex problems.

The Impact of Social Learning on Organizational Success

A study by Bersin & Associates (2010) found that organizations with strong coaching and mentoring cultures significantly outperformed their peers regarding employee engagement, retention, and financial performance, highlighting the potential impact of social learning on organizational success.

10% Formal education

Tailored, interactive courses

Formal education remains an essential component of the learning ecosystem, providing learners with a structured approach to acquiring new knowledge and skills. The most effective traditional education programs are tailored to individual needs and roles, focusing on relevant content and engaging learners through interactive experiences.

Ongoing educational opportunities

Continual learning is essential in today’s dynamic business environment. As such, organizations should prioritize ongoing educational opportunities for their workforce, such as workshops, seminars, and conferences. These events allow professionals to stay current with industry trends and emerging best practices, ensuring their skills remain relevant and valuable.

The Benefits of Implementing the 70-20-10 Model Across Industries

70-20-10 Model for LearningEnhance skill retention and mastery.

Combining hands-on experience, social learning, and formal education, the 70-20-10 Model promotes a deeper understanding of concepts and skills, leading to higher skill retention and mastery. This comprehensive approach ensures that learners have ample opportunities to practice and refine their skills, which translates into increased productivity and effectiveness in the workplace.

Encourage collaboration and teamwork

The 70-20-10 Model fosters collaboration and teamwork by emphasizing the value of learning from others. Social learning encourages professionals to share knowledge, discuss challenges, and solve problems together. This collaborative environment helps to build strong working relationships, improving communication and teamwork across the organization.

Foster a culture of continuous improvement and adaptability

Organizations embracing the 70-20-10 Model create a continuous improvement and adaptability culture. By prioritizing ongoing learning and development, employees are empowered to stay current with industry trends and adapt to changes in their roles and responsibilities. This commitment to education helps organizations remain agile and responsive to the demands of the ever-evolving business landscape.

Successful Implementation of the 70-20-10 Model.

Consider the example of a leading technology company that implemented the 70-20-10 Model to support the development of its global workforce. The company combined experiential learning through challenging assignments and projects, social learning via coaching and mentoring programs, and formal training sessions tailored to individual needs. As a result, the organization experienced increased employee engagement, improved skill development, and higher retention rates, ultimately driving growth and innovation.

Components of an Effective Learning Ecosystem

Training (10%)

70-20-10 Model Training Slice

Customized training based on individual needs and roles

Training programs must tailor to the specific needs and roles of the learners. By focusing on the most relevant content and incorporating interactive, engaging experiences, these programs can help professionals develop the skills they need to succeed in their roles. Examples of customized training modules include leadership development programs, role-based certifications, and industry-specific workshops.

Coaching and mentoring (20%)

70-20-10 Model Coaching and Mentoring

Team Coaching

Team coaching helps professionals work together more effectively by enhancing communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. By working with a skilled coach, teams can identify areas for improvement, set goals, and develop strategies for achieving success.

Individual coaching and professional coaching

Individual and professional coaching provides personalized support to help professionals overcome challenges, develop new skills, and achieve their career goals. Coaches can offer guidance, feedback, and encouragement, assisting learners in staying motivated and focused on their development journey.

Group facilitation

Group facilitation involves leading structured discussions, workshops, or meetings to help participants share ideas, collaborate, and achieve shared objectives. Skilled facilitators can create an inclusive, supportive environment that encourages open communication and promotes learning.

Facilitation and change management (70%)

70-20-10 Model Facilitation

Organizational Assessments and Change Strategy Design

Organizational assessments involve evaluating an organization’s current state to identify areas for improvement and potential barriers to change. Based on this analysis, a tailored change strategy can be developed to guide the organization through the transformation process.

Guiding teams through transformation processes

Implementing a successful change initiative requires ongoing support and guidance. Change management professionals can help teams navigate the transformation challenges, providing resources, tools, and expertise to ensure a smooth transition.

Navigating organizational resistance to Change

Resistance to change is a common challenge in any transformation effort. Organizations can minimize disruptions and foster a more resilient, adaptable workforce by understanding the root causes of resistance and developing strategies to address these concerns.

Leadership development (integrated throughout the 70-20-10 Model)

Leadership development programs and coaching

Developing strong leaders is crucial for organizational success. Leadership development programs and coaching can help emerging and established leaders enhance their skills, such as strategic thinking, decision-making, communication, and emotional intelligence. By tailoring these programs to specific leadership roles and levels within the organization, the organization ensures that leaders acquire the necessary skills to guide their teams and drive organizational growth.

Empowering leaders to drive change and innovation

By incorporating leadership development into the 70-20-10 Model, organizations can empower their leaders to drive change and innovation. Leaders equipped with the right skills and knowledge can help create a culture of continuous improvement, adaptability, and resilience, enabling organizations to navigate the complex challenges of today’s business environment.

Cultivating a Growth mindset

A growth mindset, characterized by the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work, is essential for effective leadership. By integrating leadership development into the 70-20-10 Model, organizations can help leaders cultivate a growth mindset and foster a learning, experimentation, and innovation culture.

Implementing the 70-20-10 Model

Assess the current learning culture.

The first step in implementing the 70-20-10 Model is to assess your organization’s current learning culture and determine how closely it aligns with it. This may involve reviewing existing training programs, coaching initiatives, and opportunities for hands-on learning. Conduct surveys or focus groups to gather employee insights about their learning experiences and needs.

Integrate practice, social learning, and education.

Based on your assessment, identify opportunities to enhance hands-on practice, social learning, and formal education within your organization. This may involve expanding experiential learning opportunities, implementing coaching and mentoring programs, or revising existing training courses to better align with the 70-20-10 Model.

Develop a tailored learning strategy.

Create a learning strategy that reflects your organization’s unique needs and goals and the principles of the 70-20-10 Model. This strategy should outline the specific learning initiatives, resources, and support systems required to create a holistic learning ecosystem. Incorporate organizational assessments, change management support, and leadership development to ensure a comprehensive approach to learning and development.

Monitor progress and adjust.

Implementing the 70-20-10 Model is an ongoing process that requires regular monitoring and adjustment. Track key performance indicators, such as skill development, employee engagement, and business outcomes, to evaluate the effectiveness of your learning initiatives. Gather feedback from employees and stakeholders to identify areas for improvement and refine your approach as needed.

The 70-20-10 Model in Organizational Transformation

Align learning with organizational goals.

When implementing the 70-20-10 Model as part of a transformation or change program, aligning learning initiatives with the organization’s overarching goals and objectives is essential. By ensuring that learning initiatives support the desired outcomes of the transformation, you can create a more cohesive and practical approach to Change management.

Engage leaders and stakeholders.

Leaders and key stakeholders play a crucial role in driving organizational change. Involve them in learning by incorporating leadership development programs, training, and coaching initiatives to help them champion the transformation and support their teams throughout the change process.

Leverage change management expertise

Working with change management professionals can help you integrate the 70-20-10 Model into your organization’s transformation efforts. These experts can guide the designing and implementation of learning initiatives that support the change process and help address any resistance or challenges that may arise.

Communicate the value of learning.

As part of your organization’s change efforts, it is essential to communicate the importance of learning and development to your workforce. Emphasize how the 70-20-10 Model supports the transformation by fostering skill development, adaptability, and collaboration, and encourage employees to engage in ongoing learning opportunities.

Evaluate and adapt learning initiatives.

As your organization transforms, it is crucial to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of your learning initiatives and make any necessary adjustments. Continuously assess the alignment between your learning initiatives and the transformation objectives, and gather feedback from employees and stakeholders to identify areas for improvement.

By integrating the 70-20-10 Model into your organizational transformation or change program, you can ensure that your workforce has the skills and knowledge to successfully navigate the transition to new working methods, such as adopting Agile methodologies. This approach will help drive lasting success and support a resilient, adaptable organization.


The 70-20-10 Model offers a comprehensive learning and skill development approach, emphasizing the importance of hands-on practice, social learning, and formal education. By integrating this Model into your organization’s transformation and Agile adoption efforts, you can create a more adaptable, skilled, and collaborative workforce better equipped to navigate the challenges of today’s dynamic business environment.

As you reflect on your learning experiences, consider how the 70-20-10 Model can be applied in your organization to support growth, change, and innovation. Assess your organization’s current learning culture, identify opportunities for improvement, and develop a tailored learning strategy that aligns with the principles of the 70-20-10 Model. By fostering a continuous learning and improvement culture, you can empower your workforce to thrive and drive lasting success in your organization.



  1. Lombardo, M. M., & Eichinger, R. W. (1996). The Career Architect Development Planner. Lominger Ltd., Inc.
  2. Jennings, C. (2013). 70:20:10: Towards 100% Performance: link
  3. Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development. Prentice Hall.
  4. Bandura, A. (1977). Social Learning Theory. General Learning Press.
  5. Hersey, P., & Blanchard, K. H. (1969). Management of Organizational Behavior: Utilizing Human Resources. Prentice Hall.

Additional resources

  1. Jennings, C. (2016). 70-20-10 Framework Explained: link.
  2. Harvard Business Review. (2011). The Great Training Robbery: link.
  3. Agile Alliance. (n.d.). Agile 101: link.


  1. Lombardo, M. M., & Eichinger, R. W. (2009). FYI: For Your Improvement – Competencies Development Guide. Lominger Ltd., Inc.
  2. Kolb, D. A. (2014). Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development (2nd ed.). Pearson FT Press.
  3. Bandura, A. (1986). Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory. Prentice Hall.
  4. Hersey, P., Blanchard, K. H., & Johnson, D. E. (2012). Management of Organizational Behavior: Leading Human Resources (10th ed.). Pearson.