Blended Learning Myths You Shouldn’t Fall Into the Trap of Believing

• 3 min read

Improve blended learning strategies by ditching these common misconceptions

When you see the numbers 70:20:10, you might think of one of two things: it’s either three numbers that add up to 100, or it’s the basis of a great methodology that is critical for organizations that want to incorporate blended learning into their learning strategies.

If you’re a reader of the Docebo blog, you know where we stand. While 70:20:10 (sometimes associated with blended learning) is not new, it is an essential approach to increase performance by improving learning and development programs. In a nutshell, it separates learning elements. We used to think it was all about classroom-based, instructor-led training. Now we know it is so much more.

Learning takes place on the job, and it is reinforced through social interaction. So in a fundamental way 70:20:10 flips the script and says that only 10 percent of learning happens through traditional means (see: the classroom,) 20 percent of it happens socially (crudely, let’s call this watercooler chat, but it goes deeper than that,) and 70 percent of it occurs on the job, experientially.

These are all backed by numbers, and the whole approach is something you can review in a recent paper composed by no less than the 70:20:10 Institute.

What 70:20:10 is not!

But as opposed to how we’ve discussed 70:20:10 to date, today we’d like to discuss what 70:20:10 is not. With that, let’s pull three key points from the above-mentioned paper and provide some insight into aspects of blended learning that challenge what new observers of the methodology might think it is all about.

1. 70:20:10 is not a ‘rule’

The numbers are really not hard-and fast numbers. Yes, they all seem like hard-coded percentages that form the framework of the approach, but the 70:20:10 label is simply a reminder that 90 percent or more of development occurs in the daily flow of work. 90%! That’s not insignificant, and it is a key reason leadership needs to pay attention to this numbers-based approach. Learners don’t learn in classrooms anymore – or maybe they never did. What is known is that the most effective learning progress takes place on the job, and this is how we ought to view learning and development: holistically, and end-to-end.

2. 70:20:10 is not a type of learning theory

Here’s another mistake. This framework is a reference model which provides a set of guiding principles, broadly, for extending the focus on learning beyond formal training. It is less a paradigm or theoretical model than it is a loose, guiding principle. Yes, that notion can be hard to accept insofar as we often like to have explicit, direct rules we can apply and execute to achieve results. But with 70:20:10, the onus can fall more on the L&D professional to actuate the ideas behind it to achieve provable success. So as a reference model, it is incumbent on the L&D leader to interpret and apply the model according to their own organization’s situation.

3. 70:20:10 is not a fixed ratio

All learning and development is highly contextual, so the optimum ratio between formal, social and experiential development will depend on the specific situation.

70:20:10 is not a way to keep different approaches to learning and performance separated. Conversely, it is an approach that helps select the most appropriate solution for any specific situation where performance needs to be improved.

Learn the essentials of the 70:20:10 model by downloading the 70:20:10 Framework Primer today.