The 70-20-10 Rule

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70:20:10 Learning Model, 70-20-10 Framework


Understanding The 70-20-10 Rule

The 70-20-10 Rule is a learning and development concept that suggests a specific balance in the sources of learning. The numbers represent the percentage of knowledge and skills acquired from different types of learning experiences. Specifically, it proposes that:

  • 70% of learning and development takes place from real-life and on-the-job experiences, tasks, and problem solving.
  • 20% comes from feedback, observations, and interactions with others.
  • 10% comes from formal educational events, such as training courses or reading materials.

Origins and Evolution of The 70-20-10 Rule

The model was initially developed in the 1980s by the Center for Creative Leadership, based on research into successful executive learning practices. It has since been widely adopted across various industries and fields as a guideline for designing effective learning and development programs.

Application and Benefits of The 70-20-10 Rule

The 70-20-10 Rule emphasizes the importance of learning by doing and learning from others, which are often more impactful than formal education alone. This approach can lead to more effective learning outcomes, as it aligns with how people naturally learn in their work environment. It also encourages continuous learning, adaptability, and innovation, which are crucial in today’s fast-paced business landscape.

Usage Examples

1. A software development company may apply the 70-20-10 Rule in their training program, with 70% of the program focused on hands-on coding tasks, 20% on code reviews and mentorship, and 10% on formal training courses.

2. A marketing team might learn about a new digital marketing strategy by implementing it in a small project (70%), discussing the results and feedback with colleagues (20%), and attending a workshop or reading articles about the strategy (10%).

3. An individual professional might apply the 70-20-10 Rule to their personal development plan, by seeking new challenges at work, actively seeking feedback, and taking relevant courses.

Historical Context

The 70-20-10 Rule was first introduced in the 1980s by researchers from the Center for Creative Leadership. The model was based on their research into the most effective methods of learning for successful executives. Over time, the model has been adapted and applied in various fields and industries, and has influenced the design of many learning and development programs.


  • The 70-20-10 Rule is not a strict formula, but a guideline that can be adapted based on individual or organizational needs.
  • The model does not devalue formal education, but highlights the importance of complementing it with practical experience and social learning.


  • Compared to traditional training models that rely heavily on formal education, the 70-20-10 Rule places more emphasis on practical experience and social learning.
  • Unlike models that focus on individual learning, the 70-20-10 Rule recognizes the importance of learning from others and through collaboration.

Related Concepts

  • Experiential Learning
  • Mentorship
  • Professional Development
  • Continuous Learning
  • On-the-job Training
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