More on informal learning and the 70-20-10-framework

This weekend I discussed the evidence 70-20-10 framework with one of it’s most well-known defenders, Charles Jennings, which resulted in me asking you all to find the evidence as I didn’t get the evidence via our discussion. I’m still waiting for the meta-study Jennings promised.

Wilfred Rubens – in a blog reaction to this discussion – is correct that there are in fact 2 elements:

  • Is there more informal than formal learning?
  • Is this a good thing?

Wilfred also couldn’t find a meta-study but does add a dutch literature-study by Harm Weistra to the list in which the conclusion suggests that there is probably more informal than formal learning (although its’s worth noting that most of the studies are based on knowledge-rich or large industrial companies and – more important – on the highly subjective self-perceptions of the respondents). If this is better is – as said – another question.

Wilfred also mentions a talk by prof. Rob Poell who gives 3 reasons why formal learning could be a better option than informal:

  • if you want to innovate it’s better to take some distance of your daily practice.  (double loop learning).
  • if safety and civil effects are important issues (doctors, pilots) , formal training is a safer option.
  • (formal) Training can also be a more efficient approach to reach a bigger group of people (economy of scale).

“Could be better” again doesn’t mean “is better by definition”, now in the other direction.

I also checked PIAAC 2012 and found something interesting in it about informal learning. The biggest effect on the skills needed in a job – besides formal training – came… from what people did in their free time at home. If somebody is doing stuff at home – eg as a hobby – that resembles his or her job, they will be better at doing their job. Interesting, but rather a correlation than a causal relation. So wait for introducing a hobby-plan to your company. It’s not that improbable that someone who really likes what he or she is doing as a job, is spending also time at home with things that are related to the job, e.g. reading on the topic. It’s not sure if you would force somebody to do this – as if this could be done – that the effect would be the same.

So, were are we know? Still no meta-study, still looking for evidence…

Btw, Wilfred proposes an alternative to 70-20-10, the wicer-model:


One thought on “More on informal learning and the 70-20-10-framework

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.