Going beyond 70:20:10: The quest for real behavioural shift

Senior leader learning

In our previous blog on 70:20:10, we described the framework as the first 10 metres in a 100 metre race. It’s a good starting point, but to get the next 90 metres, you’ll need to go beyond this framework if you really want to create a learning organisation and see behavioural shift.

So, what should you really be thinking about?


core principles to think about to create a learning organisation and see behavioural shift.

Team working on post it notes

Engage people in their own learning

You might already be aware that 70% of learning projects are planned by the learner themselves – and that’s a critical difference between the way we learn as adults and as children. Adults both want and need to set their own learning projects and goals.

It doesn’t matter how much effort you put into embedding a 70:20:10 structure in your organisation if people aren’t fundamentally engaged with the reasons why they’re learning a topic. That means ensuring a clear line of sight to the reasons for learning something and the specific benefits it will bring to the learner.

Additionally, an increasingly important trend is the customisation of learning. This is where people can adapt their learning in a way which is fitted to their existing level of knowledge, which really focuses their learning and supports their own individual goals.  It’s much easier to be motivated to learn when the learning is specific to your needs and interests.

Structure learning so that it can be embedded on the job

Learning needs to be delivered in a way which maximises the crossover between formal learning like workshops and webinars and putting that learning into practice. It’s not enough to deliver a topic solely via formal learning; you need to create a learning journey where there are different points of engagement and which creates the right opportunities for social and on-the-job learning.

What does that look like in practice?

After a formal learning session, you’ll need to consider the activities to support your learning objectives. If it’s learning a complex skill, such an activity might involve breaking down that skill into some of its elements and provide opportunities for deliberate practice of those elements. Alternatively, post-formal learning, you might wish to give learners a way of assessing their knowledge and skill on an ongoing basis so they’re able to understand where and how they’ve improved and what they still need to build on.

Capitalise on the learning channel

Don’t assume that content you deliver face-to-face will work via eLearning or video.

The practicing of interpersonal skills needs to have a face-to-face element because to embed those skills, we need rich and immediate feedback to accelerate our learning. That’s why face-to-face learning continues to have an essential role in virtually every learning strategy.

Video is an excellent channel to use when engaging people with a topic, or when you want to facilitate the telling of stories, and other digital channels are fantastic for assessing people’s existing knowledge so that learning can be tailored.

Complexity plays a huge factor in deciding which channel to use.

If you just need people to remember and understand something, this can be achieved through straightforward one-way channels, like articles for example. However, if you’re asking people to learn a complex skill, you’ll need to move more towards two-way interaction, provide opportunities to practice, and then use social learning to embed that skill.



key questions to consider to go beyond 70:20:10 and create a learning organisation using the three principles above.


1. How do I create lasting behaviour change in my organisation?

Don’t get confused between what it takes for someone to ‘learn’ and what it takes for actual behavioural shift. Learning is not enough – you need people to do something differently. For example, we all know that we should eat 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, but how many of us consistently carry out this behaviour?

2. How do I pro-actively manage “on the job” learning so it is most effective?

If you’re using the 70:20:10 framework, it’s a huge part of your strategy and you can’t just leave the 70% just to happen. Adults need to know why they are learning something before they are motivated to learn, so make sure your on-the-job learning helps people connect to the reasons why.

  1. How do I equip my leaders for social learning?

Again, social learning needs careful management, it’s not something you can just expect to happen and we know that social learning works best when it’s carefully scaffolded by a skilled facilitator. You may not have an organisation of skilled facilitators, but you do have a business full of leaders and managers so think about how you equip them to get the most out of social learning. An obvious way of achieving this is to equip them with effective coaching skills so they can ask the right questions and provide the right balance between support and challenge.

  1. How do I integrate all channels of learning to create shift?

At Lane4, we use our Per4mance Learning Journey. You may have your own methodology which integrates formal, informal and social learning all together. Be careful not to inundate your learners with too many resources. Instead, carefully curate your content to encourage people to be curious and explore a topic in more detail.