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Make 70 20 10 training model skill oriented

Ensure Job Readiness: Merging Skill-Based Training With The 70:20:10 Model

In the last few decades, the 70-20-10 model captured the attention of many CLOs and  L&D professionals. It has been considered to be of great importance to companies who endeavor to maximize the impact of their learning and development programs. 


This is true, but with the L&D evolution and digital advances, even the old needs to be revamped to fit in the modern business environment. 

70:20:10 is, without a doubt, still a very effective model; it just needs a fresh approach with skilling. However, the irony is that people are still finding it challenging to effectively incorporate this within their L&D strategy. Traditional implementation approaches do not deliver the expected results. Taking a positive turn towards skill-based training can help in using the 70:20:10 model effectively. 

Before we get to the new approach, let’s dive deep into the basics first. 

What is the 70-20-10 learning model?

3 points

70-20-10  model was created in the 1980s by three researchers, Morgan McCall, Michael M. Lombardo, and Robert A. Eichinger

(Oh yes! it is that old) 

Breaking down the traditional 70-20-10 model:

  • 70% of learning happens through on-the-job experience. 
  • 20% of learning happens through social interactions
  • 10% of learning happens through formal learning 

The three researchers asked almost 200 executives to self-report how they believe they learned and, based on their responses, created the model. 

Unfortunately, the post-covid employees weren’t a part of this research. The current digital acceleration and changing market space constantly demand a  skill-based approach to tackle the business challenge. 

Hence the decades-old model needs to be more skill-driven and modernized for upskilling and reskilling the employees in the digital-first world. 

Giving the conventional 70:20:10 approach a modern skilling tweak 

The 70:20:10 model though primitive, doesn’t fail to garner interest due to its capability to enhance learning and development. There are online communities dedicated to this model. However, despite its popularity, there are many criticisms around this. According to many, the model is a bit unstructured. Most concerns are around the 70% ratio that’s dedicated to on-the-job experience without any planning or structure. 

We cannot ignore that the 70:20:10 model is just a guideline and not a hard and fast rule. Every organization is unique, so it can be molded as per the organization’s L&D needs. 70% of learning is experiential learning, according to the model. It gives the learner majority of control over their learning. However, if the pathway is structured with the right skilling strategies, employees will be able to drive their learning and development in a positive direction. For instance, if the employees know he has to develop a certain set of skills, he will take the necessary steps to expand his capabilities. The best way to do it in the current competitive business environment is by continuously developing the right skills. So the entire 70:20:10 model can be skill-oriented to drive performance and business impact. 

How to merge skill-based training with the 70-20-10 model  

3 points A

The underlying value of the 70:20:10 model is that multiple types of learning (experimental, social, and formal) must take place to make any L&D initiative successful. The model is flexible, so it can easily be merged with skill-based training as per an organization’s learning and development needs. 

Here is how skilling can be blended with the 70:20:10 model to drive impact. 

For the 70%: Linking roles with the skills that are needed 

Modern companies are charting toward digital maturity; employees are propelled to take up new responsibilities amidst digital acceleration. Employees need more clarity on their roles and the capabilities they have to build to shape their career paths. Linking roles with skills can help provide a clearer picture to employees. For instance, if skills are defined for a digital marketing executive, assistant manager, and manager. The employee will know which skills s/he need to develop to do their job efficiently or move to the next role. 

A skilling suite like Disprz helps in identifying and benchmarking skills for different roles in a company. It even enables managers and employees to measure the proficiency level for each skill. For instance, on a scale of 1 to 10, the manager rates an employee 4 for a particular skill, and in self-assessment, the employee also rates himself 4, so his skill score will be 4. 

Based on the skill score, the employee gets a clear understanding of how much effort he has to put in to build the skills for moving to the next role. So accordingly, he can coordinate with employees who are experts in a particular skill. He can self-enroll in various courses and practice what he has learned to get better at a particular skill. Here the employee is still doing experimental learning, but it is a more streamlined way. 

For the 20%: Skill-building through peer-generated content and employee engagement 

Once the skills are defined for a specific role, employees can collaborate and learn together. For instance, there are three sales executives in a team, and the skills are benchmarked for the sales executive role. Through a skill assessment, they find out that all three are good at different skills; for instance, one is good at cold calling, the other is good at setting appointments, and the third is good at giving sales presentations. So all three can share the techniques that worked really well with each other.

The company can empower them by giving them the right learning tool with a social platform where they can collaborate with peers, share valuable resources and brainstorm together. Social learning aligned with a skill-driven approach can help boost engagement and results. 

For the 10% – Define a formal skilling pathway and make it personalized.

The 10% of learning that is dedicated to formal training can also be skill-focused to derive better results. With the help of an LXP, the L&D can assess skills and create a personalized skilling journey for developing different skills.

Most of the LXP solutions are powered with AI that recommends relevant courses based on the learner’s skills and interests. This helps take personalization to the next level for developing necessary skills in real-time. 


The 70:20:10 model can be very effective today if given a skilling edge. Using the right skilling platform, L&D can identify, assess and build skills at scale. Disprz is one such skilling solution that can help blend the 70:20:10 model with skill-based training. Disprz LXP gives employees the flexibility to explore skills that interest them, all while driving learning initiatives that seamlessly blend with the business goals. This powerful AI-based platform provides personalized and intelligent learning recommendations based on the job role, interest, skills, and the employees’ learning preferences. 

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