[Webinar recording] 70-20-10 examples and ideas

This is a first in our series of 70-20-10 example webinars. Future webinars will be centred around themes, this one is broad.

70-20-20 Example - A manager induction program

Our first scenario today involves Rebecca. Rebecca is a character used throughout a few of our webinars,her goal at the moment is to redesign her Manager Induction Programme.

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The whole idea of having a Manager Induction Programme is a bit of an illusion, as normally you don't have enough people to be able to have a cohort to run it as a program. A Manager induction program is helpful for when a person shifts from being in a team to being a manager or joins a new organisation as a manager. These moments of transition are incredibly busy, and people need to take on new knowledge, new skills, and new expertise in order to succeed, but they don't always have the time to spend on learning off the job.

70-20-20 Example - Taking a performance support approach to supporting New Managers

Below is map of how this manager induction program could work. This is based on past projects Sprout Labs has done with clients.

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One of the classic ways the 70-20-10 model is used is to take a performance support approach. In 10 section on the map above you can see one of the approaches is an online manager portal, as a performance support.

70-20-10 - add social supports

But beyond performance support, the approach also adds social learning experiences to the mix. This may be in the form of a virtual classroom, where a community can be built, so managers learn from each other’s different practise styles and individual approaches. Or this may be in the form of a discussion based approach, or even a guest speaker type of approach.

70-20-10 and mentoring

One social learning method that a lot of organisations often use is mentoring of new managers. This is a really powerful tool to use and one of the most success on-the-job learning experiences to witness.

Logging learning as way to trigger reflection

In the map there is the concept of learning through a team log, or individual learning log. We have actually started to work with a number of organisations on introducing this idea of learning logs. At the end of each day, learners, whether team members or managers, write up what they've done that day, what they'll do differently and what they've learnt during the day. It’s a way of constantly being reflective and aware of their working processes. The idea of ‘logging’ often comes naturally to a lot of people, so it's actually not a particularly unusual activity to implement. What makes it even more beneficial is that it’s not always goal driven either. It can simply be an ongoing reflective process.

Spacing learning over-time

The other idea that comes from the 10 realm involves practising activities that are spaced out over a period of time. These activities could be challenges, common problems with managing people, procedural problems or system problems that a manager is going to face over a period of time.

A good example of this is budget cycles because budgeting is always an interesting time for a new manager, since they may have seen budgets being done before, but they haven't actually prepared one. So in the months before the budgeting cycle starts, the programme could be pushing out budget problem scenarios, challenges, questions, and things that the manager needs to be thinking about before they get to the real world problem of creating a budget. This ensures that before they actually have to do the task, they've worked in some really short, easy practise style activities to prepare them.

The link between continuous learning and continuous improvement

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As we have started to work more with organisations using the 70-20-10 learning model, I began to realise the importance of the idea of continuous learning. Continuous learning is linked to the idea of continuous improvement, and there is a huge body of knowledge around continuous improvement, as well as expertise and techniques around continuous improvement which can really help at an organisational and team level with continuous learning.

Design critiques as method to foster continuous learning

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Design critiques are one of the core learning experiences that are used in creative industries. What happens during a design critique is that someone puts up a piece of visual work they have been working on and then talks about what they've been doing, what problems they've been facing, what's been going well and what they're struggling with. Then the group gives feedback and comes up with ideas, possible questions, and ideas to explore more. The word critique may put it in a negative light, but often they can be quite a positive experience.

This same sort of process could used in industries. For instance in technical workplaces, like those of coding and software development, a team might spend one hour a week doing code critique. Just like before, someone would put up a piece of code that they wrote during the week and then as a group they would look at ways it could be improved. It’s also done in healthcare, where people will bring a case to a group of peers to discuss and look at it together as a group learning experience.

Now, during an actual webinar live session, the group explored some of the barriers to and enablers to these types of group learning experiences. The below table is a summary



  • a strong focus on customer service

  • continuous improvementç

  • strategic focus

  • getting employees and leaders to promote learning

  • not understanding the power of collaboration

  • competing priorities

  • taking time out

  • fear of asking others for help and input


That last barrier ‘fear of asking others for help and input’ is one of the reasons I don't particularly like the word critique because I don't think it really summarises the potential of the design critique as a positive learning experience.

L&D people often struggle with how to actually build learning cultures, and design critiques are good examples of the types of activities that build a culture of learning.

Hopefully this short webinar and the transcript has sparked some new ideas about how to use the 70-20-10model.