In this installment of our blended learning series, we continue our focus on the 70:20:10 learning model by discussing how the internet may be impacting your employees’ learning. We’ll also cover some common misconceptions regarding this popular learning model.
How do your employees learn?
Ask employees to explain how they think they learn and, chances are, most of them will mention the internet as a prime source for gathering information. Search engines and websites—such as Google, Wikipedia, and YouTube—are widely and regularly used in many job roles. In fact, some people may prefer Googling to find answers rather than asking coworkers for the same information.
The vast wealth of convenient internet resources, reliable topic-specific websites, and how-to guides is turbocharging on-the-job learning in many professions. So, when considering the 70:20:10 rule, it’s important to think about how the widespread impacts of self-directed, web-based learning can impact your organization’s overall learning and development goals.
Good or bad—it’s happening right now.
A common misconception of 70:20:10 is that the model is about “forcing” social and informal workplace learning. As a result, the model has been used to justify the sale and use of social learning platforms in many organizations. And while social learning platforms may be useful, the point of 70:20:10 is that social and workplace learning are already happening—and will continue to do so with or without the L&D function.
Keep in mind, even though social and workplace learning are already occurring, you shouldn’t just let it happen. Here’s why:
- Workplace and social learning may not be happening in the most effective or consistent ways. The Fix: Identify instances of social and workplace learning so you can support and encourage it (we’ll discuss this more detail in an upcoming blog post).
- Not all learning is positive. Whether it’s through personal experience or from a coworker, people may learn how to perform tasks incorrectly or inefficiently. For example, employees may be taking risky shortcuts or simply not completing tasks in the most effective ways. The Fix: In order to tackle and prevent bad behaviors, you must first identify their sources.
- Formal learning may focus on topics that are already being addressed through informal learning, which ultimately wastes learners’ time and your L&D budget. Rather, your formal learning programs should focus on areas where informal learning is weak. The Fix: Once you identify informal learning in your organization, you can prioritize the focus of your formal learning programs.
Remember, you don’t need to force workplace and social learning, but you should aim to support and direct them while targeting your formal training to bridge any gaps.
Up Next: Track and support learning with xAPI
Join us next week when we discuss how xAPI has transformed the way learning experiences are tracked and supported—including social interactions and on-the-job development.
About the author
As one of the authors of xAPI, Andrew Downes has years of expertise in data-driven learning design. With a background in instructional design and development, he’s well versed in creating learning experiences and platforms in corporate and academic environments.
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