HandyTrain Special – The curious case of the 70-20-10 model

Workplace Learning and Distributed Workforce - HandyTrain

Workplace Learning

We all know that the workplace is a powerful teacher and learning experience that one gets on-the-floor or on-the-field, is irreplaceable. When you go through real-life scenarios and situations, you are more likely to discover new things, get real practice, receive instant feedback and all this helps improve one’s performance.

This concept of on-the-job learning was formalised in the training industry by a model called 70-20-10. It states that individuals obtain 70 per cent of their knowledge from job-related experiences, 20 per cent from interactions with others, and 10 per cent from formal educational events. The model was created in the 1980s by three researchers 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 did this by researching the key developmental experiences of successful managers across industries.


But we must also understand that a lot of the learning that is taking place on the job may not necessarily lead to desired results. This is particularly true for two types of organizations – one with a widely distributed workforce and second which is redefining new ways of doing things in a particular industry. In these cases either the training is not uniform or is not relevant. Let’s look at these scenarios more deeply.

Look Beyond

In an organization with a distributed employee base, there are employees joining every month across geography. It is impossible to reach all the location and conduct an elaborate training program. Even if you manage to do, the retention of learning is quite abysmal. Most often organizations rely on senior peers or reporting managers to do the job.

So what happens when peer learning goes wrong? It can either lead to pernicious incidents like fudging records, learning jugaad ways to get things done or serious crime like stealing customer records for fraudulent activities.

Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.

-Benjamin Franklin

We believe leveraging digital and mobile assets could be one good way to augment peer learning and disseminate uniform information across the organization. It can be continuous, engaging, relevant and learning trackable. Mobile based learning and engagement platforms like HandyTrain enable organizations to provide the right information, at the right time and effectively engage their employees.

Adapting to Change

Today many organizations in the consumer business are adapting themselves to changing consumer behaviour and buying process. Digitalization is taking consumers away from the stores and busy market roads to buy at the comfort of their home with few clicks.

What happens when these fundamental changes are transforming the business or the industry you are in? One of the obvious things is to train people to open up their minds and learn new ways of doing business. We have to recognize that the L&D programming needs to support changing business scenarios, new strategic and change initiatives.

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.

– Charles Darwin

The last thing the organization needs is more people learning how to do their jobs in the old way. Here on-the-job learning might have to take a back seat and instructor-led or digital learning which allows the organization to transfer new knowledge in a more constructive and uniform manner takes importance. When change is inevitable, we must drive that change and not let change bury you.


To summarize, we have to understand that on-the-job learning is not all the learning we want in an organization across situations and business scenarios. We must recognize and build various modes of training interventions which can address all the situations your organization is in. Having said that on-the-job learning remains a very effective framework L&D must learn how to understand, leverage and manage.