70-20-10 target training

70-20-10 model: Why we MUST apply it to Business English training

I recently outlined how the 70-20-10 model can be applied to Business English training solutions.  By applying the 70-20-10 philosophy to Business English training and integrating on-the-job and social learning alongside traditional approaches, companies can comfortably overcome the challenges they face:

  1. the challenge of urgency – training needs to deliver tangible improvements quickly
  2. the challenge of availability – taking people out of the workplace for training is becoming increasingly difficult

Put simply, time is money and the sooner your employees can perform the required tasks to an appropriate level, the greater the benefit to your company.  This means that learning has to be engaging, relevant, and above all easily transferable to the workplace.

Obviously, on-the-job learning (the 70% guideline) is as relevant and transferable as possible. Without the traditional training (the 10% guideline), the informal learning may never happen – but the key is to make this 10%  a “multiplier”.  Explicitly connecting this on-the-job and social learning to traditional approaches is essential. You should expect that traditional training becomes increasingly relevant and transferable by using the on-the-job learning as a springboard.  What have you seen on-the-job that also needs attention away from the job ?  Following the 70-20-10 philosophy means that speed of performance improvement increases due to training at and in the workplace.


How the 70-20-10 model,when applied to Business English training, can save time and money

As we all know, time is a precious commodity in today’s workplace. Traditional training approaches mean time away from the workplace. Whether it be technical, management, IT or language training, this time away from the workplace is costly and limited.

The issue of availability is compounded even further when we look at how much time language training can eat up.  The training time and investment required to develop language skills is truly daunting.  Industry guidelines talk about 150- 200 hours to move from a CEFR B1 to B2 level. Relying solely upon a formal classroom-based approach (face to face or virtual) just takes too long. For example, if a learner has one “class” per week of 90 minutes, and they consistently take part 3 out of 4 times (an optimistic target for most busy professionals) the learner will need at least 3 years of continuous training to “move up a level”. These figures are quite rightly shocking to any manager and to their budget! Traditional formal training alone cannot be the answer. This is where the 70-20-10 model becomes invaluable.

By setting up a more holistic approach and supporting, nurturing and creating opportunities for social and on-the-job learning you can reduce both the time and investment required – while at the same time building motivation and engagement amongst the employees.  The ratios do not have to be strictly followed – rather each of the three approaches needs to be encouraged.

Next time we’ll look at some proven practical tips for integrating the  70-20-10 philosophy into your Business English programs. Let us know if you have any experience with the 70-20-10 model in the comments area below. Want to learn more about how we use the 70-20-10 model in our training? Click here.

2 replies
  1. Michelle Hunter
    Michelle Hunter says:

    With one of my clients, we agreed that I would spend one full day a week in their office. Alongside the traditional English teaching hours, we would simply interact like regular office colleagues: coffee chats, lunch breaks, figuring out a better way of formulating an email together – all in English.
    I was even invited to attend a team meeting which was conducted in English where I could get a better feel for how they manage such a situation over a longer time. They did well and I was able to collect notes on where they could improve.

  2. Will Dover
    Will Dover says:

    How can you make progress quickly? One thing that I found helps my participants is being available at the time they need help. For example when they are writing quality reports on mistakes with production they can now phone me and I’ll go over to their desk to assist them with writing the message clearly in English. In this way they save valuable time, whilst building up a repertoire of job-specific vocabulary for future reference.

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