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Last updated: 12.03.14

Online training can support self-directed learning

A growing number of businesses are pursuing the 70-20-10 principle in their learning and development initiatives. The concept involves the largest part of training coming through experience, but crucially, this is supported by other forms of learning: namely knowledge derived from colleagues and also courses and training, both online and in the classroom. The companies that are pursuing this principle include many at the top of their respective industries, such as Coca-Cola, Sony Ericsson, Morgan Stanley, Philips, Microsoft, Nike and Dell. The crucial thing to remember with such a multi-pronged approach is that each strand should support and reinforce the others, so online courses can be used to reiterate lessons that staff will need to learn in their day to day jobs, for example, while also introducing and expanding on other topics. According to Personnel Today, formal learning, such as online courses, needs to relate to what actually goes on in the workplace to be most successful. It is also important to note that consultant Charles Jennings, who popularised the 70-20-10 concept, has acknowledged it should only be a reference model, rather than a formula. It is also important that these courses are highly specialised on the actual needs and training requirements of staff. Virtual College offers a range of online courses that businesses can use to supplement the on-the-job learning that their staff members already receive. They can also effectively be combined with the 20 part of the 70-20-10 principle: people learning, which will most often come from managers or senior staff members, who can supervise these online courses and provide feedback on the results. The 70:20:10 principle is also increasingly being rolled out in areas of the business world beyond learning and development, with Coca-Cola last year applying the concept to its content marketing efforts; focusing 70 per cent of investment on established and successful programmes, 20 per cent on new and emerging trends and ten per cent on more experimental ideas that could become the next big thing.

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