Canada Association of Tourism Employees

70:20:10 Mannequin Advantages And Drawbacks

70:20:10 Model: Advantages and disadvantages of using it in online training

Do the advantages of the 70:20:10 model outweigh the disadvantages? In the 1980s, an NGO called the Center for Creative Leadership created the 70:20:10 model for training. It is said that 70% of training is on-the-job, 20% by peers and only 10% from formal education. As you develop your online training courses, make sure that the bulk of your online training courses include hands-on, contextual activities. Yes, it’s formal education so on paper it’s part of the 10%. However, by taking into account the types of tasks your employees actually face at work, you are playing in the 70% zone. If you include some group assignments, now you cover the 20% too! Let’s examine the pros and cons of this model so you can determine if it is right for your online training program.

Top 70:20:10 pros and cons

Pro: Empowers employees

One of the key benefits of the 70:20:10 model is that it gives employees a sense of autonomy. The idea of ​​learning by doing gives them freedom of choice in ways that regular training does not. Of course, this requires trust on the part of the apprentices in the company. But it’s still satisfying to discover things for yourself instead of being told. This is the main differentiator between adult education and childhood learning. Online training gives them the opportunity to explore their own insights and learn in the process, rather than sitting on the sidelines.

Con: It’s not proven empirically

Unfortunately (for that matter) the world runs on statistics today. The 70:20:10 model doesn’t really work for metrics, even in eLearning setups. You could say that you learned a task through exposure to it. However, there is no real way to confirm whether it was the online training course or work experience that anchored that skill. Also, in corporate environments, it is difficult to get approval for something that doesn’t have statistics. Also, asking the boss to pay is a difficult and difficult task. Especially when he / she is told that it is only 10% of its stated purpose.

Pros: It emphasizes practicality

Good online training courses for adults tend to be more contextual. There is less theory and more of the actual skills that you will be using. This ID approach applies the same principle, and this is where the advantages of the 70:20:10 model really shine. For example, in a compliance online training module, one tenth of the online training content specifies the rule itself. The main part of the lesson should be the application that shows what (non) compliance looks like in everyday work environments. You can have some group homework assignments, but most of the online training course includes individual simulations and branching scenarios. Give employees the opportunity to see how their actions and decisions can have a negative impact on the entire company.

Con: It can be an excuse for not exercising

On the other hand, think of the worst boss you’ve ever had. They know the way. They assigned you to a job that you were ill-equipped to do, and you seemed to enjoy watching yourself fidget. This type of supervisor could easily undermine the model advantages of 70:20:10. It can become their panacea if they don’t really teach their wards. There has to be a very careful balance between “letting it learn” and useful, uncomplicated support. The difference can be as simple as providing an online reference database and regularly updating it.

Pros: It’s easy to use

The 20% portion of this model is relatively simple and potentially free. Just bring your corporate learners to a social media group or build them a chat room. You can also connect them with a mentor or study partner who can virtually check-in from time to time. Or, use corporate eLearning blogs and online discussions to enable peer-based eLearning feedback and information sharing. The 10% is already covered by registering for the online training course. But the 70% also have a lot of leeway for DIY learning. You could use role-playing games to practice certain tasks. They could rehearse with virtual reality tools. Another option is to assign a task and issue a guide with step-by-step instructions.

Con: It’s difficult to evaluate

Since so much of the task is action and personal experience, it is difficult to pinpoint its success. Are the benefits of the 70:20:10 model the root of your success? Can you really “test” something that is “learning by doing”? You can confirm how many times they tried the task before it succeeds, but you may not get full credit. You could have studied alone or had an intrinsic talent. However, you can check the virtual library to see which topics are the most popular. This can help you identify which areas need more online training or improved eLearning content development. It can also show which topics corporate learners are most interested in.

Pro: Makes it easier to use in practice

Employees not only read about compliance topics or tasks, they also experience them firsthand. Better still, it’s in a risk-free online training environment that enables error-driven learning. This makes it easier to apply in practice so that you can improve confidence in the workplace and avoid these mistakes in the workplace. It is also backed by more structured training and social learning tools for additional support. For example, the employee needs help to determine where they made a mistake during the simulation. Or how the character in the story or anecdote could have done things differently. You can contact your colleagues for clarification or guidance.


The 70:20:10 model has been around since the 1980s, so it has to do something right. It’s an all-in-one study guide that makes a lot of sense on the surface. However, if you examine it more closely, you will see both its advantages and disadvantages. It looks good, but there’s little evidence that it actually works, and that the advantages of the 70:20:10 model outweigh the disadvantages. It focuses on hands-on assignments, but sometimes it’s a smoke screen to drive corporate learners in-depth. It’s easy to implement, but figuring out the ROI and actual success rate is another discussion. So apply cautiously and be sure to keep track of things after they start.

What are the most popular ID models? How do you create amazing eLearning experiences? Download our eBook Breaking Into the Industry: Become an Instructional Designer and Master the LXD Basics to learn how to start your ID career.

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