Instruction is Only Worth 10%

By: Angela T. Moustis
Angela Moustis is a student in Training and Development 499 at Roosevelt University.

Angela Moustis is a student in Training and Development 499 at Roosevelt University.

It’s true, trainers.  You are not as critical to the learning equation as you might think.  According to the Center for Creative Leadership’s 70-20-10 Rule, only 10% of learning and development comes from formal training.  Formal training can be anything from a live class to eLearning to reading a book to attending a seminar.  So why do we spend so much time and energy on designing courses?  Before I answer that question, let’s see what the full model looks like.

On-the-job development accounts for the largest chunk of learning at 70%.  Learners have to take on challenging assignments that stretch their current skills and allow for new skills to emerge.  Think about something that you are really good at doing.  Now think about the first time you ever tried to do it.  You probably made some mistakes, right?  The simple fact is that humans are experiential learners.  The more you work at something, the better you will be.

pie-chart20% of learning is through relationship building.  We all know that networking is important for career development, but it is just as important for learning and individual growth.  People learn from those who provide access to information and connections to other people, knowledge, and jobs.  Other relationships include mentors, supporters, challengers, or even obstacles.  All relationships have the possibility of creating new learning opportunities.

Finally, let’s get back to that earlier question.  Why do we spend so much time and energy on designing courses?  The answer – it is an important 10%.  Learners must first be introduced to new ideas and concepts before they can apply them on-the-job or build relationships around it.  As instructional designers and trainers it is critical that we are aware of this rule and take the time to help learners develop clear action plans before they leave the classroom or close the window.

You do have the power to increase your contribution to learning by promoting the 70 and the 20.  Have them create specific tasks that apply the learning on-the-job.  Help them identify appropriate connections and encourage conversation.  How will you implement this model in your next class?

About Eric

Eric Hahn is a graduate assistant in the Training & Development program and works as an editor, graphic designer and writer. He lives in Chicago and has a cat with a criminal mind.
This entry was posted in Guest Student Post, Human Performance Improvement, Instructional Design, Learning at Roosevelt, Learning Theory, Mentoring, Organizational Development, Training, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Instruction is Only Worth 10%

  1. Nikkita says:

    Great post Angela. I was just having a conversation with my colleague about experiential learning opportunities for students. We have a new President at the University and his focus is on Student Career Success and we believe experiential learning opportunities such as extern or internships will aid in their success. Thanks for the insight🙂

  2. Vince Cyboran says:

    Great post. These findings are similar to those from a 1998 study entitled ‘The Teaching Firm: Where Productive Work and Learning Converge.’ Here’s the URL:

  3. mcordello says:

    Great post and so true. In September I learned about the 70-20-10 Rule. I read about this on Charles Jennings web site. He is director of the 70:20:10 Forum and member of the Internet Time Alliance, Charles Jennings is one of the world’s leading thinkers and practitioners in learning and development.
    Check him out.

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