Applying the 70:20:10 Ratio Outside the Office

This August, I was promoted to the Digital Content Manager position, hence the deafening silence on my blog. And last week, I facilitated a training program about the importance of the 70:20:10 ratio in the workplace. Basically, this learning and development framework captures three types of learning: 70% experience (experiential), 20% exposure (social), and 10% education (formal).

702010 ratio infographic
The 70:20:10 Ratio

The discussion was supposed to be quick and short but we enjoyed it to the point that a 4-slide PowerPoint presentation, which was supposed to introduce the actual training program, lasted for more than 40 minutes.

The bottom line is, although the formal learning accounts for only 10% of the total learning of an employee, it plays a crucial role to improve the performance of a person in the workplace.

After the training, I had one question in my mind: how can we apply the 70:20:10 ratio outside the office?

70% Experience (Experiential)

Let’s take a writer as an example. While other people claim that writing is a talent, I believe it’s a skill that can be learned and honed through the years.

Anyone can be a writer.

Experience is the best teacher, so for starters, you can start a journal, create a blog, write in your spare time, write whenever you can. Simply stated, if you want to be a writer, write.

But if you ever have a tough time in making your creative juices flow, remember what Charles Bukowski said: unless it comes unasked out of your heart and your mind and your mouth and your gut, don’t do it.

20% Exposure (Social)

According to this framework, learning is 20% exposure. This one is about our social interaction with others. If we follow this to improve our writing, you must choose your circle carefully. Follow your favorite writers online, find and join groups of writers, and go out with people who share your passion.

The 20% also includes collaborative learning, which happens when you discuss ideas with people in your chosen circle. It also covers coaching and mentoring, which happens when you receive and provide feedback.

However, we must not forget that alongside feedback, we must also receive and provide encouragement to and from others. Feedback and encouragement go hand in hand. Without the other, the 70:20:10 ratio won’t work its wonders on your learning and development outside of work.

10% Education (Formal)

As I said earlier, this part might comprise only 10% of our learning but it is as equally important as the two other factors. Without this, you can practice writing until doomsday but you won’t achieve that much-needed boost in your passion.

I understand you probably wouldn’t do as much as a double-take in the matter of signing up for paid structured courses and programs since we’re talking about your passion outside of work, but the internet, although not purely reliable, offers tons of opportunities for all of us.

If you don’t want to spend a fortune on training programs related to your craft, find free online courses through your social network. You can try searching on Facebook and LinkedIn as there are so many entrepreneurs and influencers who are offering free courses in exchange for, say, a blog review, a newsletter subscription, or anything but money.

Sure, shopping around for free courses may be difficult, but that is your only ticket to success. At the end of the day, these structured courses and programs are what separate your normal learning experience from one which gears toward development. 

If you can’t sign up for these programs, the best you can do to help yourself is read the works of your inspiration authors and writers. They may not be able to provide theoretical learnings but they can at least teach practical lessons, which you can apply in your own system.

Got questions about the 70:20:10 ratio? Shoot me an email and I’ll help you if I can. 

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