Applying Social Learning to the 70:20:10 Model


At Raytheon Professional Services (RPS) we commonly refer to the 70:20:10 model for learning and development. This reference model has been heavily adopted among training professionals and offers a learning pattern optimised for training outcome effectiveness, providing a breakdown of the key drivers for knowledge acquisition.

  • 70 percent from job-related experiences
  • 20 percent from interactions with others
  • 10 percent from formal training

The core message of this model is that learning is a continuous process that never stops. It takes place in a variety of different places and contexts, like content development, and is not limited to the classroom.

Although the 70:20:10 model has existed for over thirty years, we now view it with a more modern lens by applying it to social learning. Learning and development has begun to shift in a direction that acknowledges our inherent nature to learn socially and pairs this behaviour with the technology available to us today. This shift is critical for learning professionals to embrace, given that seven out of the ten top learning tools are social media sites. To give you an idea of its power, here is a look at the overwhelming amount of content produced every sixty seconds online:


Through the 70:20:10 model, organisations can apply effective learning and development programs utilising social tools through the following approaches:

1. Personal learning through social tools
Many training leaders use social learning as a means of supporting a learning culture. The highest emphasis in the 70:20:10 model is focused on the individual and their job-related experiences. This further demonstrates the need for a culture to support learning at a personal level. Organisations can use social learning tools such as internal blogs, wikis and idea engines to encourage individuals to seek out information to increase product knowledge, career development, customer education, sales and many other business skillsets. Making content available through social technology in the form of smartphones, tablets, social media and your organisation’s Learning Management System (LMS) will allow employees to consume content at their own pace.

2. Social collaboration with peers
In the age of social media learners, people are now not just consuming content, but they are generating it too. With that in mind, social collaboration is an effective way to bring peers together, on-the-job, to refine their skills through coaching and mentoring in order to encourage feedback.  Social technology users are already inclined to ask questions to find information they need, or interact with a community in order to share ideas and learn new material. Integrating social learning into the middle layer of the 70:20:10 model will encourage collaboration between peers to occur seamlessly, similar to the ways they already communicate through social technology.

3. Resources and courses offered through social learning technologies
Formal training is where organisations invest most of their training spend, yet it makes up the smallest percentage in the 70:20:10 model. In order to refocus formal trainings, restructuring resources to be provided on-demand for your learners is essential. Social technology, and its ability to provide information in an instant, has led organisations to adapt resources for learning and development to provide learning content in the exact moment that an employee needs it. While learning courses may still require scheduling, rather than being on-demand, utilising social technology within these courses can connect employees to the experts within the organisation and drive higher learner engagement— two of the top priorities among training leaders. Organisations can then take advantage of video channels, communities of practice or social workspaces to increase the collaborative effort among experts and learners during such courses.

With 80 percent of training leaders incorporating or planning to incorporate social technologies into their organisations’ learning programs, it is clear that social technology is essential in order to deliver successful learning and development programs. Applying social learning methods to the 70:20:10 model will not only allow your employees to receive the most effective learning solutions, but these solutions will be delivered in a medium they are most comfortable using, given the rise of social technology as an integral part of everyday life.

What social tools has your organisation implemented into your learning and development programs? Let us know via Twitter or in a comment on LinkedIn.