The Principle of Learning 70:20:10

Since last few weeks I have been working on my training module for the company for the Middle and lower level employees. They are to be trained for specific purpose. During my discussion with the companies HR team and Higher authority, I came to the point where a question arise that how can we make them learn faster yet they should be sharper.

My quest is always to learn about the principle aspect as that creates the strong root for the fruition of the purpose.

First, My search led me to following information from various sources. I came to know that the concept was developed by Robert W. Eichinger, and Michael M. Lombardo at the Center for Creative Leadership. It is adopted by Princeton University as part of their Learning Philosophy.  Lots of big corporate giants are practicing on this methodology.

70/20/10 *……[Footnote]….Research regarding Principle of Learning

  • 70% from real life and on-the-job experiences, tasks and problem solving. This is the most important aspect of any learning and development plan.
  • 20% from feedback and from observing and working with role models.
  • 10% from formal training (Included in this are books, training courses, or lectures that you may listen to).

More info here:

When the thought were drifting in my mind regarding practically and applicability of this formula, I realized how nature is using it. Let’s say animals & birds. when new baby came in to their family how they made to learn the skills. Taking Sparrow and little chick for an example. Surprisingly they do it without using words of communication. However I have not yet research in to the communicating ability of these kingdoms. May be they have different system to convey the message, in corporate terminology, i would like to say it as formal training. I have definitely observed on couple of occasion that sparrow(The mother) while training a little chick(baby sparrow) on how to fly, it first starts with flying around it. Chick is to observe how mother is using the wings to fly. Then at the second stage Sparrow catch it in its beak/legs and fly high in the sky then release the chick. This way it creates an atmosphere for chick to put its efforts in a way to learn the skills to fly high. This process continues till chick develops the skill to use the wings and starts flying.

Also, we have wonderful example from Mahabharata(One of the two major Indian epic) where Eklavya was not having official Guru to guide to master archery. He created the statute of Guru and started practicing it and he mastered the skilled so well. If we take this as one of the best example for learning then it seems to me that ratio may vary to 80%/90%learning comes from doing and 20%/10% comes from observation and introspection.

When saw my career, I got my formal education in law and commerce, i started an analyst for Environmental Testing firm and reached to place of supervisor. Now all these practical real life experience and my observation capacity led me to expertise in the field of training.  Now it’s more challenging task for me to make these principles applicable in real life of the people.

[Footnote] I am still in search of research papers to support this Formula. Sharing the concept gratefully applied & shared by R.W.Eichinger & M. Lombardo. More research are always welcome. however I am of the opinion that principle will remain the same but application may differ from person to person based on the internal and external aspect of the learner.


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