Resources from the episode:
Transcript of the interview:
Hi everyone, welcome back to the Learning Elevated podcast brought to you by Docebo. The show where we help you elevate your learning efforts and move up in the world of enterprise learning and development. As always, guiding you on your journey up the tower will be your elevator operators, myself Kerri Moore and my co-host…
Rob Ayre. Now, each week, as always, we’re stopping off at a new floor. And today, we’re getting off on the eleventh floor which we’re calling the lounge because we are getting social with the very master of social learning himself Charles joining from the 70:20:10 institute. So let’s get chatting, Kerri, super excited for this one.
I’ve known Charles for a number of years now and… and, you know, the interview really stands up and provides a lot of, you know, both information about the sort of 70 20 10 methodology but also about the current times that we’re living in. I don’t know if it’s ever been more important, but also more challenging to really sort of give that on the job type of training.
And then it is when you have your entire workforce working remotely. So what we’re gonna do is always just kick off with an article. So the one we picked today is actually from the Docebo blog written by our product marketing manager, Matt Powell. So the… the article is, you know, simply putting it: “What is social learning and how can you adopt it?”. So what I’d like to kick off from the article Kerri if you’ll have me is just a quick description that Matt put in here around what the 70 20 10 learning framework is. So basically, it’s the methodology suggesting that about 70 percent of someone’s learning happens via on the job experiences, 20 percent from interactions with their peers and just 10 percent believe it or not in traditional instructor led classroom environments. So I think it’s kind of an important little level to set before we start to talk to the man himself.
Yeah, for sure. It’s really really nice to set that up for those that don’t know about that. And so, yeah, what we’re kind of relating to you now is the 20 percent of social learning and what we’re trying to focus on is how you can capture that? Because so much of that really… a really important part of learning is missed and so, what do we try to create in the LMS itself so that we can track it so we can learn from it and so that we can share that knowledge with all of our peers too and say, yeah, this one is a really… really great article, which is why we wanted to touch on it.
It really really goes into depth about all levels of social learning about Bandura’s four principles for social learning, whether it be attention, retention, reproduction and motivation and goes just so in-depth for all of those points there.
Yeah, I mean, there’s… there’s so much to be said about the importance of kinds of learning and the flow of work we put into it. One of the things that I find myself just trying to learn is that you can tell me all day long about what it is that I’m supposed to be doing.
But until I actually do it myself, right? I don’t really, I don’t really retain it. And there’s a lot of theories about, you know, the forgetting curve, right? And… and those sorts of traditional learning environments. It’s… it’s been proven that people really only called 10 percent of the information that they’re taught within 72 hours of taking the formal learning…
Right, it’s scary.
Yeah, it is scary.
And so, it’s like how do… how do we create opportunities to where people are really focused in and doing the thing that they need to do… to… to… to have to make sure that they’re really retaining that information.
Exactly. And I think some of the things that we speak about in this article here, is just basically how important it is to have that kind of social reinforcement on some of these perceptions that we have. So it keeps us on track, keeps our… our attention there. And it also just makes sure that we’re keeping motivated , engaged and what we’re doing because we’re having that social interaction and that’s what we need as humans. And I’m also we’re… we’re retaining it as well. So where is teaching to somebody else again or, you know, it may be easier to digest because it’s written in such a way that just is more… more human. Again, it’s not someone teaching in the traditional sense. If someone’s having a conversation.
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, really any time that you can introduce into your learning program an opportunity for reinforcement, I think… I think you’re going to be that much more successful if your learners are going to be that much more successful.
So, you know, if… if I learn something and then you asked me to go into the learning platform, record a video on my computer, upload it so that I can actually show you that I’ve learned what it is.
I’m probably going to retain that information that much more like you, if you’re gonna give me a bunch of slides and then say, okay, complete this quiz. This… this, you know, random kind of multiple-choice quiz. I honestly, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to remember that. But if you actually say, okay, I’ve just told you this thing, go even just put it into like I said, like a video and send it to me by me having to take that action, I feel like it’s really going to reinforce in my mind what it is that I just went through. Plus it’s going to be like I can’t just go and Google these answers. So like I feel like I actually have to do something in order to make sure that I am retaining it.
Exactly, you’re accountable then, right? So, yeah, it’s gonna make you put more effort in for sure.
Yeah, I mean, obviously in this article is… it is really nice and in depth which is great, but it goes into bits about, you know, the importance of the theory behind social learning and how it applies to enterprise lightning itself, and then do some of the… the benefits there as well and how you can adopt it. So definitely worth checking that out on our website which is Docebo.com/podcast.
Yeah, absolutely. Big thank you to Matt for that one. It’s a great article as mentioned. So let’s… let’s just jump right into it. And I really do think a lot of you guys listening are going to be able to really take some actual, you know, actionable feedback from this to… to implement immediately following this call. So, I’m gonna kick it over right now. Hope you enjoy here’s. Charles Jennings co-founder of the 70:20:10 Institute.
Joining us today, we have Charles Jennings co-founder of the 70:20:10 Institute. Charles – welcome to the podcast.
Thank you very much, it’s a real pleasure to be here Rob.
So Charles, being the co-founder of the 70:20:10 Institute, I’d like to kick off and… and sort of get your explanation of what is the 70 20 10 theory? And on top of that, why is social learning so important to enterprise learning?
Sure. Yeah, 70 20 10 is a framework.
And as a framework, it’s… it’s a reference model. It… it describes the fact that the most of the learning that happens… happens through and with other people and as part of daily workflow, and there’s a big body of research that shows that, you know, we learn most by doing stuff and by talking to people and… and getting help from people and helping other people and so on.
So, the social element in that is the 20. Originally, the… the numbers come from research done back in the 1980’s when I guess work wasn’t so social, we worked in more structured organizations that we do now. We didn’t have all this wonderful technology that we’ve got now. So it was interesting that the… the twenty bit in the original bit of research where the numbers come from show that uh that was the twenty, was the social learning from others and with others, that was probably less.
I’m sure it was less than what happens now. I’m sure that’s increased a lot. So, in terms of the overall framework, it… it really is a way to… to set a north star. So, the fact that we learned formally, we learned through formal courses and programs, they are really useful very often when we start a new role or start in a new organization, just to get that direction. And then the 70 and 20 kick in because if we want to build real expertise, we never do it purely through formal learning. We do it through… through knowing the principals being able to do the job. Then by doing the job, by challenging assignments, by working with exemplary performers, by having coaches, by all these sorts of things which actually help us build expertise over time.
So, can you…
No, go ahead.
Sorry about that, Kerri.
So, can you help me understand a little bit more? What, what can organisations do to really build out that… that coaching model? And… and maybe in particular, how can they use technology to… to build that model out?
Well, that’s difficult to answer because all sorts of different organizations do this well or… or aspire to do it well for different reasons. I mean, I worked, I was the Chief Learning Officer at Reuters at Thomson Reuters for about eight years. And when I was a Reuters, that organization really understood the importance of social learning and, or exploiting and building on social learning and experiential learning because the CEO really understood us. And so it was driven from the top. Other organizations, it’s driven from the center or even from the bottom depending on what they’re trying to do. In some cases, it’s almost impossible to do your job unless you do your job with other people. I must admit I’ve always found it rather strange that we, many organizations still goes through this cycle of doing an annual performance review and they sit down with… with you, Rob with me and they would say, you know, we have our review with our manager and yet we all know that virtually none of us achieve our objectives every year without relying on other people to help us. So the social element of work is really critical. And… and so, you know, we need to sort of think about that as we… as we as… as learning and development professionals in my case, or we as managers think about how we can help build high performance across our organization. And I guess if you’re thinking about or talking about culture about building a culture of, I would say a culture of high performance, a culture of continuous learning or whatever we need to continuously think about how we can support this, whether be supporting it by building really… really effective formal learning programs which exploit the opportunities created by groups of people working in teams working with others or whether it’s designed to exploit the fact that we need to go beyond just developing knowledge and skills and make sure that they’re embedded in the… in the way in which we do our work and we build that competence into expertise and otherwise.
So, it’s… it’s really fundamental, I think to us to assume and you know, where we’re social animals, as human beings. So, you know, we better get damn good at exploiting the way that we use the social elements for building around capability and performing or else we’re going to underperform.
For sure. That makes sense to me. What would you say then, if people weren’t to take on this kind of social learning initiatives what would be some of the repercussions of not having that, the business?
Well like I can think of a number Kerri, immediately. The first is if you’re looking to create and support organizations, the level of innovation and organizations, we really need to talk to each other and need to exchange ideas and organizations which are innovative can respond to change rapidly, particularly in the current climate, are those organizations that will succeed, those organizations that can’t change and respond to the changing pressures and changing demands won’t succeed.
And so that’s one imperative. The other element I think is a former colleague of mine, a wonderful man called Jay Cross, he sadly died five years ago, but Jay was one of the founding fathers of informal learning. In fact, Jay was the first person to use the term E-learning and Jay, always said, one of his axioms I guess was that the… conversation is the greatest technology ever invented.
And so, although our technologies are really important to us, that social component, that conversation is absolutely critical. And if you work in organizations where conversations, building networks, exchanging ideas are encouraged. And if we build that into our formal learning solutions, we encourage it informally, we encourage it across the organization, that is a likely indicator that our organizations will flourish. And if we’re talking about building a learning organization, or a social organization, those are the sorts of indicators that we look for.
So, you know, we’re… we’re in an interesting climate currently obviously with COVID… and the majority of workplaces now working remotely, I’m curious to get your take on… on how organizations in… in particular, the high performing ones can leverage technology in this moment to bring informal learning and social learning to their… to their people.
I think that’s a really good question Rob because over the last few months I’ve been reflecting on the use of technology for learning.
Now, my background, I… I headed up the… the United Kingdom’s center for collaborative learning in a business school 25 years ago, I was a professor in a business school and we did a lot of research around social collaborative learning, online learning. And I was involved in launching the world’s first pure online MBA back in 1995.
So, 25 years ago. And I’ve been sitting sort of waiting as things slowly changed and it’s a little bit like digital transformation, you know, HR departments and… and consultancies. And so I’ve been working for the last few years in terms of digital transformation… transformation. And along comes a little virus… that… that initiates and basically drives greater digital transformation that’s been driven in most organizations over the last four or five years. Along comes a virus which has driven something I’ve been passionate about for a long time which is technology enabled learning that’s driven that now faster than anything else that I ever have. And it’s really intriguing. I’m not suggesting that I think that the… the change, the move or saying the mad move from… from all the major rush from face to face learning into digital based online learning, I’m not suggesting that all of it is great because I’m sure a lot of it isn’t great because it’s… it’s what I’d almost go shovel where a lot of it where they shoveling content from classrooms into online without really having good frameworks around us.
But nonetheless, I think what this last few months has taught us is the fact that technology can really enable us to reach. We apply, we weren’t able to get reach without moving people around so we can get reach with moving people around. And always going back to the Evans and Wurster model back in 20 years ago. A couple of guys called Evans and Wurster wrote a book called Blown to Bits which is really about how the digital revolution was changing things and they talked about the richness and reach trade off.
So without technology, we can create wonderfully rich learning environments. But if we’re going to scale those and give them reach. We absolutely need technology. And the argument always used to be well that’s great but the technology really inhibits you so you can’t get, you can’t do a leadership development work unless you’re bringing people together for example, or… or it always used to be the argument about the… the great richness of bringing people together and the e-learning or learning technologies were never going to be able to replace the face to face. I think that we’re seeing the fact that in many ways digital technology does replace that, for example, using tools like even the standard communication tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams and things like this.
They allow us to communicate pretty damn well. It’s different. It’s actually in my experience it’s much more tiring. I chatted a couple of a couple of two, half day or two story two, six hour sessions over the last couple of weeks with about 50 chief learning officers and it’s damn tiring.
I’d say it’s more tiring going sitting in a room with them, but it allows us to do this and I think it allows us to… to really explore opportunities for supporting people to do their jobs and do the job as well. And therefore learn to do it and improve this. Developing this culture of continuous improvement and continuous development. Technology is absolutely critical in order to do that.
Yeah. Interesting what you say and… and I’ve kind of had experience in myself. It’s almost like Zoom burns out where I’m on Zoom quite a bit during the week. And so on the weekend, you know, my family, let’s say we’ll want to set up a… a Zoom dinner or something. I’m like, you know, I don’t… I don’t know if I can sit behind my computer anymore.
Yeah, I know exactly how you feel it’s… it’s… it’s uh it absolutely is, you know, you… you, I think it requires a level of concentration that’s not needed in face to face. I’m sure the psychologist will tell us all about this in retrospect but it certainly is a different experience, but it doesn’t make it any less I think.
Yeah, how have you noticed maybe during this time? But maybe just throughout your career previous to this. How have you seen the shift in social learning across kinds of corporate learning cultures. How has that changed?
Social social learning has always been with us. It’s not… not something we’ve created as I said earlier on you know humans are social animals. We communicate and live socially. A great hero of mine Jerome Bruner, one of the greatest educational psychologists, once said, our world is others. In other words, without other people, our world actually doesn’t exist. So it’s nothing new in terms of the way that humans learn socially.
I think what is happening is that there’s an increased awareness particularly from the perspective of learning professionals, HR professionals, and professionals who are responsible for building capability in organizations and helping our helping people to do better and helping our organizations to do better. There’s been increasing awareness that the social element is really important. In the past, if you started in a job and particularly this is thinking back in the industrial society, you went through comprehensive training programs. It might have been an apprenticeship or might have been some sort of qualification. And then you are expected there was expected that you could do your… your job and there wasn’t really a social element in that except I guess in terms of a lot of the trades, you would have a master tradesman and you would have an apprentice so the master and apprentice model acknowledged the social element. But I think we lost that to a certain extent for maybe 30 or 40, 50, years. And it was assumed that we could put people through and formal training became the dominant way in which we help build capability. And we’re moving away from that, now. There’s no doubt we’re moving away from that. And I think 70 20 10 is one small element of that… that says if we want to help people reach their optimum level of performance, we want them to continuously improve. We need to focus on… on how they interact and that social learning. And in fact, we know there’s a… there’s a check or Rob… Rob Cross, there’s an academic in the US. And Rob has been working on social network analysis net analysis for many years. And Rob is really the top guy, if you want to talk about social networks, Rob is the top guy to go to. And his research has shown that he did a very interesting research study with managers to share that managers who are better connected across their organization, are better performers. So just that fact should tell us something if you’re better connected, you’re more likely to be a better performer. I’m sure that there are other studies that have been carried out that show, not just our managers, other workers. And I would guess that… that would be the same.
So simply by having better quality networks building, maintaining thinking about how you will build your social networks, more diverse networks seem to indicate the indicators of higher performance. So there is a clear link between social social activity and performance… and… and… and that clear link, I guess then goes back into thinking about okay, how can we exploit that?
And I think technology comes in there and says look technology provides us the ability just as now, I’m sitting here in… in Winchester Hampshire in the United Kingdom. Yours, you’re both sitting somewhere in the US, we can be having a conversation. We can see each other. We can talk to each other.
And this way we can engage socially. Those technologies and then when we build them in those technologies into learning systems to support formal learning, of course, they’re extremely likely to improve the quality of the output.
So Charles, on the executive level I’m curious if this might be a bit more of a framework question. But as organizations do try to shift their programs from a primarily formal delivery method to… to integrate social learning into their program you know, what… what type of things can they be doing to sort of build that culture? Or are there other things that you can do from… from an enterprise level to… to really instill that sort of knowledge sharing mentality?
Yeah, that… that steps into the culture piece Rob, you know, in terms of how do you build and create and support the culture that encourages that? And I think we’re seeing it happen exactly at an executive level and at a manager level across a lot of industries where they’re seeing first of all that the social sharing within the organization tends to lead to faster response, more innovation and these sorts of things. But also social sharing across the industry. In other words, this whole concept of co-competition which is an American term I think which is where we collaborate, we compete, but we collaborate is really important. And I think that’s being… that’s being seen. Well. I certainly am seeing that a lot more, you know, I sit down with maybe senior learning and development people in a range of banks and they’re very or a group of companies which are competing in pharma in… in pharma or in… in engineering or in any sort of… area. And we see that people are very open to sharing what they’re doing. Because in L&D, your focussed on building or helping to build high capability, highest performance levels in your organization and actually not really in competition where you might… you might be, I guess maybe you’re in competition with an organization which is in the same industry as you. But actually we’re all about trying to build excellence and build expertise. So we’re seeing a lot of that. And I think that it… it really comes down to taking away barriers and building tools and implementing tools which supports are removing the barriers for example, in pharma over the last few years where research teams… teams working on one particular grub drug… drug set, we’re not allowed to communicate and share their ideas with their colleagues working on different drug sets, that’s pretty well gone now because in… in pharma, it’s all about innovation.
Because if you’re not getting… getting drugs patented through to patent and… and through to… to sale, that’s… that’s your business going.
So you’ve got to be highly innovative to do that. So we’re seeing one side in terms of structures breaking down and encouraging more sharing and collaboration. And on the other side, I think we’re seeing better tools and technologies coming along which is supporting the ability to do that. And that is really critical. Just giving as going back to Jay Cross’ statement, you know, giving people the ability to talk to each other and making sure I’m providing the technology which allows them to share ideas, share good practice, capture… capture ideas about things I’ve seen the rich experiences that challenging experiences, share those out and make sure they’re… they’re not replicated to the challenges of mistakes on replicated elsewhere.
And I’ve seen that over the years, I worked for Dow Jones for the financial part of Dow Jones back in the late nineties and some senior managers came to me and said, Charles, we’d like you to develop some training programs to help people understand more about our customers.
And when we did the analysis, we discovered that what they really needed, was they needed some way of sharing the experiences and expertise. So, if, for example, someone from Dow Jones markets have been talking to maybe someone in Citi Bank in Hong Kong, the fact that they can gather and capture the experiences and the information they have, and then share it with someone who’s going to speak to someone else with another client in Hong Kong or someone else in the CitiBank office, in Berlin, or in New York or somewhere.
So actually what they needed with some sort of a knowledge base and performance support tools and some way to capture that… that shared knowledge base. And I think that’s a really critical element of the sharing sort of thinking outside… the… the idea that formal learning is the only way in which people develop and actually say, hey, we can exploit a lot and learn a lot from colleagues now and… and… and learn from the experiences they have.
Yeah, you know, I, I’ve… I’ve found… We’ve had this conversation a few times on the podcast where… The capturing part, I think, is where a lot of people do find a bit of challenge. You know, they… they have figured out their frameworks for measuring their formal learning, right? They have the surveys in place. They have the… the whole BI tools, but it’s when they get into the… the social learning aspect of the, some of the coaching and some of the knowledge sharing that becomes a maybe a little bit more challenging to track that and… and report it as a business impact.
Yeah, I would… I would often even question the need to track it because it’s one… it’s one input which is going to have an effect on the overall output.
And in fact, I think that as a… as a general rule as an industry learning and development has not got his head around measuring what it does. I mean we try to convert learning metrics into business metrics. We don’t tend to, you started the other… other end. And one of the things we do at the 70:20:10 Institute we only focus on business metrics. So if we’re looking to see… the impact of some learning intervention or some support in… in learning and development, we always start with measuring, defining the business metrics that we’re going to use or the business metrics that the key stakeholders want to use and work back from there.
So, you know, what are… the… the first… the first level of customer support resolutions that occur?
What are the, what are the percentages of that? Or, you know, what are the bottom line sales figures? Or it could be anything, it could be productivity figures. It could be all sorts of things. That’s where we need to staff in terms of measuring. Now trying to unpick the causal change in other words, to take it back to where it says learning has an impact on that final output I think is probably chasing a holy grail which maybe doesn’t exist. We need to… to do these things. And then measure: is this is the overall output improving? Is the overall metrics that we’re looking at improving. That’s enough. Rather than trying to be the inspector who worked at IBM for many… Many years have had a model where you break down into the causal… causal change, the measure, all the links, incredibly complex, incredibly time consuming and in the end unreliable and probably not worth the effort to be honest.
So Charles just… final question for today. What advice would you give to businesses who are either about to launch, building to launch or… or are, you know, already having launched a social learning initiative?
Well, I’d say go for it because we learn socially. We need to be supported. We need to take down the barriers that inhibit social exchanges, capturing… experiences, capturing great success is capturing challenges, capturing phases, capturing all of this and sharing that is really… really critical. We just can’t could not do jobs without that social aspect and we need to think about it in terms of… of how we learn as well. And… and I guess that I’ve for years have said that there are four basic ways in which adults learn in work and that’s through experience, through practice, through conversations and networking, and through reflection. And actually when you think about the social elements there, we can have rich and challenging experiences but we don’t… we will learn from them individually. But if we share them, other people can learn from those. We learn from practice. Yeah, sure. That’s principally around individuals but few of us work as individuals. We work as teams so that’s usually a group learning together. We obviously learn from conversations and networks.
I mentioned Rob Cross earlier on, the work that he’s done and his teams have done to show that… that managers who are better networked are better performers. So we know that. And also reflection is really powerful and we can reflect individually. But also we can reflect as a team as a group.
So there’s a social element there in terms of reflecting on what we’ve done and thinking about how that’s affected us. And if you… if you take for example a formal learning program or any learning program, we can reflect on… on what we’ve put into practice, how it’s worked, what we’ve learned from that, what our reflections are and that can become a process of continuous improvement. Both for the design is a formal learning. It can also become a process more importantly of continuous improvement for the organization.
Well, Charles, thank you so much for sharing all of your valuable knowledge today with us.
That’s an absolute pleasure… pleasure, Rob and Kerri.
Thank you so much. Have a great day and we’ll speak to you soon.
Thank you once again to Charles for joining us today on the Learning Elevated podcast. You know, Kerri, one of the things that I want to start off with that I thought was just paramount from… from the entire interviews is just how important it is that we’re supporting each other and that we’re really driving and fostering the exchange of ideas.
I’m not sure if there’s really anything that is more important for driving innovation and then really doing those two things.
Exactly. I mean, it’s the same for us in our office as well when we have lots of heads in the room, we can bounce ideas off of each other and to be able to do that within the LMS as well is extremely important. Another thing that I really liked that I think we’ve all seen, but it was just kinda great to have that pointed out is that with all of the terrible things that’s been happening with COVID, it’s really… really driven the age of going digital a lot faster than ever before. I mean, we’re all of course, having to just stay online with all of our communications. We’re playing games online. And we’re doing podcasts online, everything is there and so from that, I think we’re gonna see some fantastic results.
Yeah. I think there’s like there’s… there’s a drive that’s happening now just because of the… the global situation, but it’s… it’s showing everybody right? That the technology can really enable us to get that reach without moving people around. And I think what we’re probably gonna end up seeing by the end of all of this is the sort of, almost the ROI of… of using technology for things that otherwise would have cost a lot of money, right?
So if you’re gonna move, you know, 30 people to go and do an in-person training somewhere well, could you potentially do almost if not more effective training digitally.
Yep, that’s right. It’s that you’re going to be safer as well because, yeah, who knows, after all of this all kind of wraps up and everything is getting on track again, who knows what the impact is going to be to travel? Are we going to be safe to be able to do that? Are countries gonna open up their borders? And so this is something that I think is going to be seen in years and years from now that we’re going to be focussing on this and relying on this kind of way to learn.
Yeah, absolutely, you know, one of the things that are kind of in the… in the podcast on here, is there sort of like a call to everybody who’s listening, you know, hop onto LinkedIn, hop onto Facebook, hop onto Twitter. You’ll see one of our posts about this episode. You know, let us know what you’re doing… with the whole COVID thing.
Let us know or are you… are you doing… things with your… with your learning platform and within your learning program to really drive that support and really drive those exchange of ideas? I’m… I’m just really interested to hear… to hear, you know, the listener’s feedback and… and just sort of get a better idea of… of… of what the, what you’re doing out there.
And… and maybe, you know, some of the things that Charles brought up during the call during our interview, you could sort of touch on and say, you know, I’m actually doing this. So once again, thank you so much to Charles Jones for joining us on the interview today and joining us next week on Floor 12.
It’s going to be called The Pitch and we’re going to be joined by Hawk Eye.
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