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The 70-20-10 Model Translated into 15 Practical Tools

The 70-20-10 Model Translated into 15 Practical Tools

Understanding this simple division of how we learn is meaningful to the understanding of learning processes inside big organizations, and even as a foundation to strategies supporting these processes – and it’s definitely not limited to the L&D departments anymore!

The 70-20-10 learning model helps clarify and put into words things that those of us who work with knowledge transfer have known for years: that a big part of our employees’ learning experiences don’t happen inside or during formal teaching events like seminars or meetings, but rather on the job and through their own experiences.

The importance of the model to anyone who deals with knowledge transfer (and really, that’s all of us) are tremendous, and we feel embodies a true revolution in our involvement in the learning process and performance support.

In this article, we’ll present different aspects of this model and some examples on how to implement these, as well as real-life solutions of different LMS systems that help us bring along the much-needed change.

Learning on the Job (70%)

According to the 70-20-10 model, most of our actual learning happens while working – completing tasks, solving dilemmas that pop up, participating in projects and so on.

So, does that mean we shouldn’t do anything with our workers, and just let the nature of learning do its job? We think not: we think our job as managers and knowledge transferrers is to create viable ways, tools and directions to support on-the-job learning, as well as tools for employees to support each other’s learning, promoting a culture of free-flowing, shared knowledge.

In this context, a learning management system should probably be called a learning support system or performance support system.

The trend of using social learning tools and tools that support performance or spread information in real-time (including in mobile devices) has become popular in recent years and expresses this need in organization learning.

Our Ekko platform, which has the Totara platform at its core, is built on the social constructionist pedagogy (for the know-hows in the crowd), and so has these tools built into it in several ways:

Managing Goals and Achievements

Ekko has expanded the available abilities the organization has and includes tools to manage both large scale business and organizational goals, as well as set goals for specific units or persons.

In this, the system answers the growing trend of overreaching management of both talents and achievements in one place.

You can easily build goal-based hierarchies in Ekko taken from the organization’s strategic plan, and allow these goals to attach themselves to certain persons or units by the managers, or by the employees themselves. In addition, both managers and team members can track their personal goals through the system.

With these come tools of employee evaluation and work process evaluations. The special power of Ekko is that it provides insight into a user’s evaluation, a reflection of both the organizational goals, personal learning goals, a record of learning, learning journeys, certifications and skills.

Personal Development Plans

Ekko allows the team member and his/her manager to easily put together a personal development plan, made from the variety of resources found in the system.

You can decide on courses and skills the employee can ask to acquire for himself by adding them to his plan, or decide if managers will have control over the employee’s development plan and add courses and relevant materials to it based on an employee’s needs.

We can also add written comments throughout the process on their achievement, and set due dates to complete different learning goals. This way, we can increase the motivation of our employees to develop and grow, while allowing an open dialogue between the managers and their team members.

In effect, this system gives much of the learning responsibility to both the manager and their employees in the most direct way possible.

Resource Manager

This tool will allow you to conduct surveys following certain learning activities – seminars, learning modules, classroom meets – and receive an analysis about the topics the survey covered. You can save the survey templates for repeated use in future similar activities.

Ekko then allows you to connect different survey results using the built-in report builder, and get an overall picture about the surveys, like on a specific instructor, for example.

Database Activity

This tool is one of the most flexible in the system, allowing you to preset the way one searches and filters for information, and how he can share that information.

For example, you can set up a database with processes and documents around a certain subject, a database where users can log in their performances in real-time for research purposes, several ‘lessons learned’ documents from previous projects, a list of possible improvements and ideas for new projects, a list of experts who may advise in different subjects and on and on.

When used correctly, this tool is classic for supporting real-time performance across your organization.

Mobile Learning

Most of our employees are constantly on the move – in the field, the production lines, commuting, presenting at a sales event and then going to various meetings throughout the day.

Smartphones have quickly become our primary research and learning companion. Ekko supports on-the-go learning thanks to its responsive design – fitting perfectly into whatever device is being used at that moment, including apps, notifications, alerts and more.


Learning using short instructional videos can be especially useful when dealing with technical topics, customer service and sales support, orientation, regulation, leadership, and other topics.

All you need is a mobile device with a camera, and you’ll be able to upload to your LMS system expert tips, ideas for different solution implementations, examples of successes and failures, etc.

Social Learning, Feedback and Imitation of Role Models (20% )

The meaning of these aspects in the 70-20-10 learning model are the feedbacks we get for our performances (from managers or co-workers, for example) or situations where we watch and learn from others’ performances e.g. learning from interactions.

Some of the tools previously mentioned can also be used to support social and imitation learning – like forums, databases, and glossaries (where the learners themselves have the opportunity to update entries and rate them against others), as well as videos (where we can present models of collaboration and knowledge sharing by different people in the organization).

Here are several tools found in Ekko that can help us learn through interaction and feedback:

360 Feedback

As part of the goal management and assessment tools in Ekko, the system also puts forward a 360-review tool.  This tool allows a learner to assess his knowledge and achievements in different areas, then compare those to other learners in the system (co-workers, managers, partners, customers and so on) based on their achievements.

With this tool, you can easily spot the perception gaps between one employee to another, for example, and suggest pointers and learning tools that may increase their knowledge and fill those gaps.


Personal blogs allow experts, managers, general employees, and maybe even customers and suppliers to share short or long knowledge items while inviting commentary and an open discussion to their commentary.

You can include several things in these blogs such as links to additional information, videos, pictures and more.


You probably already heard of the most famous Wiki (hint: ends with pedia). When using the Wiki tool built inside of Ekko, you can build the foundation needed to document both known and unknown knowledge spread between different sections of your organization, and use this collective knowledge to create a central and accessible pool of information available to anyone, anytime.

You can assign different roles to different members of your company, and in that way to control the knowledge made at any point in time.

Formal Learning (10%)

The 70-20-10 learning model suggests that only 10% of our learning happens during formal learning experiences. This includes face-to-face training sessions, quizzes, sitting through PowerPoints and lectures, as well as eLearning modules that are distributed to different communities in the organization, webinars, lecture recordings and so on.

The fact that only 10% of the learning happens in the formal environments may seem a bit absurd – especially when we know that most of the organizations and L&D departments out there put most of their resources into that formal training. This model certainly presents an opportunity to stop and ask ourselves – how much does the formal training really contribute to our company?

Some organizations need formal learning experiences more than others – an example can be when you’re dealing with regulations and the need to track participation, teaching different populations the same subjects, and so on.

But in many cases, the focus on formal learning comes from traditional learning structures and processes that formulated way back in the industrial revolution, and are deeply rooted in our school systems until this very day.

These formal learning activities already exist in today’s organizations, and require serious, ongoing management. The challenge of doing this right fails, in many cases, because of incorrect management and lack of resources.

Now let’s check out some tools available in Ekko to reverse that trend – and make it a bit easier with automation while we’re at it:

Managing Face-to-Face Training Sessions

Ekko allows you to set periodical training sessions, invite learners to these sessions, open a self-registration option, manage waitlists, allow your managers to control sign up, as well as ‘save spots’ for team members.

Managers can also use the system to arrange the location of training (to avoid possible conflicts), add personally assigned fields to training sessions, advertise the training in the company calendar, see reports about face-to-face sessions, and more.

Managing  Quizzes and Tests

This tool is one of the strongest and the most flexible in the system. It allows you to manage question banks ordered by categories, build quizzes with different question types – multiple-choice, short or long text, calculation, ranking, numerical answers and other question types.

We can provide feedback for both a right or wrong answer, use pictures, videos and audio clips inside the questions and the answers, decide on the questions’ weight on the final grade, and more.

Using this tool in the system will allow you to test your users’ knowledge levels in different areas and point out gaps that may appear.

Resource Management

This tool allows you to conduct short surveys after training events – seminars, modules, lectures – and get a report based on the parameters the survey covered.

You can decide on survey templates for similar seminars or training sessions to reuse, and well as connect several surveys inside the report generator in Ekko, for example, to get an overall picture of how an instructor is doing.

Modules and other eLearning tools

This tool allows you to distribute different modules to an endless number of users, made in Adapt, Captivate, Articulate, Storyline and more, all while reporting back their results in SCORM format to the system.

Here at LearningZone, we’ve used learning modules as tools in the blended learning solutions we offer our customers. Managing these modules and their results in one central, easy to access location is the key to getting the most out of them. Of course, the results from these tools will also be available to view inside our report generator.

Learning Journeys, Certifications, and Skills Hierarchies

A big part of formal learning in any organization is distributing information necessary for an employee to do their job – whether it be in the onboarding process, update workers on regulations or distributing relevant information.

Ekko brings the best practices of knowledge transfer to life by letting you build learning journeys that include different learning activities, and by building certifications that will automatically remind the user when he must recertify. The system will even send messages to the user reminding him of the things he’s yet to have learned, as well as to their managers; in order for them to be involved and keep track of their employees’ success stories and learning paths.

These tools allow us to create an automated system of formal learning, making the process so much easier than ever before.

Report Builder

This is another critical tool for L&D departments, or anyone at all that is interested in controlling and regulating the knowledge acquired by your employees (yes, that’s you!).

Ekko comes with several built-in reports such as Record of Learning, lists of different courses, and manager reports about their team members’ achievements. The report builder also allows you to create your own reports with no limitations, and allow access to them by different members of your team or otherwise.

In addition, you can create scheduled reports attached as Excel files in an email, and present these reports with a combination of charts and visual aids.

This topic of reports and them being a critical tool in critical decision-making processes has come up numerous times with many of our clients.

70-20-10: Blended Learning for Your Organization

Just like real learning combines different sources – formal, social, and those that support on the job learning – so to do the best learning solutions. In the learning & development community, we call this “blended learning”.

As this article shows, the Ekko learning management system provides a great base for all these types of learning, and is already built with the model of 70-20-10 learning in mind. It just makes it that much easier to implement the right tools to upgrade the quality of learning, and with that performance in your business.

Sometimes it may be tough to see the complete solution for learning right from the beginning, and in many cases the solution changes and builds itself throughout the process.

In any case, if you’d like to look at the overall learning solutions the organization provides, we’d suggest you start with some of the examples we’ve discussed above and try and get an overall picture of what’s already happening, and what’re the needs in your organization.

In addition, it’s always important to keep in mind that each organization has its own needs and a level of readiness for embracing different learning tools. There are organizations that require a more focus on formal learning, unlike other places where the culture fits into the models of social, cooperative learning and performance support.

The flexible build of the Totara system that Ekko is built upon allows us to turn the switch on/off on all its available tools according to your needs, and even develop specific solutions for your specific strengths and weaknesses.

If you still aren’t sure what an LMS can do for your and for your organization, a good place to start exploring would be our site – let us know if you might have any questions, comments, or just want to say hello!

Amir Elion

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