What 70/20/10 blended learning looks like in practice

What 70/20/10 blended learning looks like in practice
September 16, 2021 Linda Murray

In my last post we looked at the 70/20/10 model of blended learning. We found the model includes 70% of learning as experiential, 20% as social, and 10% as formal. I encouraged you to download a copy of the model and learn about the different activities you can include in your development programs.

You might be asking yourself how you can translate this model into your workplace, and that’s a fair question. Today I’d like to answer it.

Before we begin…

Don’t get too hung up on the ratio.

In 2018, Training Industry research found that a more practical blend would be 55/25/20 for the modern workplace. So don’t stress about the figures. They can be a little fluid to suit your needs, depending on the situation and what your team member needs to learn. For example, there are some things you need to learn through formal education before you can put them into practice. In that case, the formal component would have a higher figure and the experiential component a lesser one.

70% job-related experiences

This will always form the highest proportion of blended learning. There are a few good reasons for that.

  • People learn best by doing, especially when it’s something that makes sense to them. You’ve seen the social media meme saying “I’m glad I learned about parallelograms instead of how to do taxes. It’s really come in handy this parallelogram season.” By learning on the job, people know why they need to learn and can use the knowledge straight away.
  • Learning happens when people need it. They don’t have to learn and store the knowledge away for some time in the future.
  • Learning doesn’t interrupt the flow of work.
  • Learning can come from external activities.


Some of the methods you can use for development include:

  • Special assignments or projects
  • Problem-solving – E.g., finding the cause of a bottleneck in workflow and creating a solution
  • Ask for new work
  • Swap roles with a team member and learn about what they do
  • Join a committee
  • Volunteer inside or outside the office to develop new skills and knowledge
  • Learn new technology and show others how to use it
  • Become a mentor for others, especially new team members.

20% learning through others.

This is the way humans are naturally wired for learning. It’s the way we learnt to fit into society and discovered what is and is not acceptable. We learn from studying the actions and behaviours of others, or by asking for their advice. This is a fast way to learn, and people are comfortable with it because the learning has been socially proven to work.

Some of the methods you can use for development include:

  • Asking for coaching or mentoring
  • Using 360-degree feedback to show where you need to improve
  • Co-working with someone
  • Seeking regular feedback from your manager
  • Asking for a form of PIP (performance improvement plan)
  • Participating in industry forums
  • Reading related information
  • Learning from your network
  • Listening to podcast or webinars

10% learning through formal channels.

Some people love formal learning while others struggle with it, but sometimes we need to learn the rules or official information to support our work.

Some of the methods you can use for development include:

  • Attend training courses
  • Go to university
  • Attend conferences
  • Try distance learning courses
  • Gain qualifications
  • Participate in online learning via the workplace.

The 70/20/10 model of learning makes business sense and delivers on results. The model shifts learning directly into the workplace, reducing the need for expensive and time-consuming course design and presentation. It also shows the value of looking at external courses and workshops to deliver learning in the organisation, meaning you can tailor learning for each individual without huge cost or effort.

Whether you are a manager, HR expert or a team member, you can tap into Athena Leadership Academy’s workshops and programs as part of the blended learning process. To find out how that works and how I can help you transform your team and individual performance, give me a call and let’s chat.



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