10/20/70 rule

What is the 10/20/70 Rule? How It Effectively Maximizes Your Productivity

Are you tired of working long hours and not feeling productive at the end of the day? Do you struggle to find a way to learn new skills while balancing your daily workload? Look no further than the 10/20/70 rule, a productivity hack that can help you maximize learning and productivity.
In this blog post, we will explore exactly the 10/20/70 rule, how to implement it in your learning and development process, and its effectiveness. We’ll also dive into how technology can aid in implementing the rule. So get ready to dive into the world of effective learning strategies and discover how the 70/20/10 rule can supercharge your personal and professional growth.
Let’s explore!

What is the 10/20/70 rule?

The 70/20/10 rule is a learning and development model that suggests individuals learn best through various activities. It proposes that 70% of learning should come from on-the-job experiences, 20% from interactions with others, and 10% from formal training or education.

History of 10/20/70 rule

Morgan McCall, Robert Eichinger, and Michael Lombardo, researchers at CCL, conducted a study in the 1980s to determine the key ingredients of successful managerial development programs. Their research involved interviews with executives and assessments of managers’ experiences. The findings indicated that most learning and development occurs through on-the-job experiences and social interactions rather than formal training alone.

In the early 1990s, McCall, Lombardo, and Eichinger published the book “The Career Architect Development Planner,” introducing the 70/20/10 rule as a guideline for effective development. The framework gained traction as organizations recognized the importance of blending experiential, social, and formal learning approaches.

Since then, the 70/20/10 framework has been widely adopted and adapted by learning and development professionals. As a result, it has become a popular model for structuring and designing comprehensive learning experiences that align with how individuals naturally acquire knowledge and skills.

Today, the 70/20/10 framework continues to shape the design and delivery of learning programs, emphasizing integrating practical experience, social learning, and formal training to facilitate holistic and effective development.

Experiential learning (70%)

70% of learning should occur through on-the-job experiences: This means that most learning should occur while employees are actively performing their job duties, handling real-world challenges, and gaining practical experience. This can include tasks, projects, and assignments that stretch their skills and provide growth opportunities.

Social learning (20%)

20% of learning should happen through social interactions: This emphasizes the importance of collaborative learning and knowledge sharing among colleagues. Employees can learn from each other through mentoring, coaching, team projects, peer feedback, and networking. This social component enhances learning, encourages innovation, and fosters a culture of continuous improvement..

Formal learning (10%)

10% of learning should come from formal training: This refers to structured learning activities such as workshops, seminars, courses, online training, or conferences. While a smaller percentage, it still provides foundational knowledge, teaches specific skills, and introduces new concepts or techniques.

How to implement the 10/20/70 rule in Learning & Development

For successful talent development in L&D programs, it’s essential to follow the 70-20-10 model—allocating formal learning (10%), coaching (20%), and job experience (70%). Such programs are excellent ways to improve employee learning and productivity. Developing a supportive work environment that fosters experiential learning is a great way to encourage personal growth. Besides coaching and mentoring programs, organizations can use internet tools like webinars or social media platforms like Zoom to aid learner development. Addressing employee performance through a training mix is necessary for behavioral change. Creative leadership is essential for meeting future organizational needs.

Budgeting for coursework

Budgeting effectively for coursework is essential to successfully implement the 10/20/70 rule in your L&D program. Allocate 10% of your time towards developing new skills through formal training programs and webinars. Using high-quality learning materials and skilled instructors can enhance employee engagement and retention. 

Practicing and applying these skills should take up another 20% of your time. The remaining 70% should involve hands-on experiences like challenging assignments, developmental relationships with mentors/co-workers, or experiential learning opportunities for real-time feedback and behavior change realization. Regular practice is crucial for skill retention; hence tracking progress helps make necessary budgeting adjustments.

The learner’s mindset

To maximize the effectiveness of the 10/20/70 rule in L&D, it’s crucial to focus on developing a learner-centric mindset that encourages self-directed learning. Employees should be motivated to seek out new challenges through coaching and mentoring programs that facilitate hands-on experience and developmental relationships. 

These initiatives complement formal training by providing practical applications of new skills, leading to better retention and behavior change. In addition, companies can use technology like webinars, social media, or even gamification techniques like leaderboards to create an engaging learning environment that addresses future needs while effectively addressing current challenges.

Gamification techniques

One effective way to implement the 10/20/70 rule in L&D is by incorporating gamification techniques like leaderboards, badges, and rewards. Such activities help keep learners engaged and motivated while making learning fun and enjoyable. However, ensuring that these gamification strategies align with the overall learning objectives before implementation is crucial. Employing such engagement-boosting methods can significantly improve retention rates.

10/20/70 rule

Advantages of the 70/20/10 Rule

Allocating your time according to the 70/20/10 rule can greatly increase productivity and help you achieve your goals more efficiently. Here are some of its advantages:

  1. Practical and relevant learning: The rule emphasizes the importance of on-the-job experiences directly related to the individual’s work. This hands-on learning enables the application of knowledge in real-world scenarios, enhancing skills and performance.
  2. Continuous learning: The 70/20/10 rule promotes a continuous learning mindset. By incorporating on-the-job experiences and interactions with others as primary sources of learning, individuals are encouraged to seek out opportunities for growth and development in their daily work. Learning becomes an ongoing process rather than a one-time event.
  3. Learning from peers and mentors: The 20% dedicated to interactions with others recognizes the value of learning from colleagues, mentors, and experienced professionals. Collaborative activities, feedback, and guidance from others foster a supportive learning environment and provide opportunities to gain insights, learn from their expertise, and leverage their experiences.
  4. Knowledge sharing and networking: The focus on interactions with others encourages networking and knowledge sharing within the organization. Building relationships and engaging with diverse professionals enables the exchange of ideas, perspectives, and best practices. This fosters a culture of collaboration and innovation.
  5. Flexibility and adaptability: The 70/20/10 rule acknowledges that formal training alone may not be sufficient for comprehensive learning. By incorporating different learning activities, individuals can adapt their learning approaches to their specific needs and preferences. This flexibility allows for personalized and customized learning experiences.
  6. Cost-effective learning solutions: The rule emphasizes that only 10% of learning should come from formal training or education. This recognizes that formal training programs can be resource-intensive in time, money, and effort. Organizations can optimize their learning and development investments by focusing on other learning methods, such as on-the-job experiences and interactions.
  7. Transfer of learning to the workplace: The 70/20/10 rule significantly emphasizes learning that directly applies to the individual’s work context. This promotes transferring knowledge and skills acquired through on-the-job experiences and interactions to real work situations. It enhances the practical relevance and immediate applicability of learning outcomes.
The 70/20/10 rule offers a holistic and effective approach to learning and development, aligning with the principles of experiential learning, social learning, and continuous improvement. As a result, individuals and organizations can optimize learning outcomes and enhance performance by combining different learning methods.


The 10/20/70 rule is a simple yet effective way to maximize productivity and learning. By focusing on experiential and social learning, you can retain information better and apply it to real-world scenarios. It is also important to budget for coursework and create a learner-centered environment. The effectiveness of the 10/20/70 rule has been proven repeatedly, with learners experiencing better retention rates and application of knowledge. With the aid of technology, implementing this rule has become easier than ever before. 

So, start applying the 10/20/70 rule today and watch your productivity soar! Want to learn more about how you can foster a culture of continuous learning in your team, enhance your knowledge, and become a better manager? Then what are you waiting for? Just sign up for Risely and unlock your potential!

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How do you engage learners in the workplace?

To engage learners in the workplace, provide interactive and relevant learning materials, encourage collaboration and discussion, offer hands-on activities, provide feedback and recognition, and create a supportive and inclusive learning environment.

What is an example of learner engagement?

An example of learner engagement is organizing a team-based project where employees actively participate, collaborate, and apply their knowledge and skills to solve real-world problems, fostering a sense of ownership and motivation.

What is learner engagement?

Learner engagement refers to individuals’ active involvement, motivation, and participation in the learning process, where they are fully engaged, motivated, and invested in acquiring new knowledge and skills.

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