Is Your Onboarding Program Optimally Structured?

70:20:10 Framework

The 70:20:10 Framework for Learning and Development specifies that learners most effectively obtain 70% of their knowledge from on-the-job experiences, 20% from interactions with others, and 10% from formal educational activities. The model was created in the 1980s by researchers at the Center for Creative Leadership. The framework serves as a reference for organizations working to optimize successful onboarding programs.

The model states that hands-on experience (70%), such as joint visits made by clinicians with an experienced preceptor, is the most beneficial for employees because it allows them to actively use and refine job-related skills, make decisions, address challenges, and experience real-world scenarios in a safe but active environment. This form of onboarding also allows individuals to learn from their mistakes and receive immediate feedback on their performance.

Employees learn from others (20%) through activities such as social learning, coaching, mentoring, and other activities with peers. Interactions with others allow employees to receive encouragement and feedback from their mentors and peers.

Only 10% of learning occurs through formal learning, such as classroom training, because the interactions are typically passive and fail to allow for active participation by the learner. Although formal learning provides a valuable foundation from which other learning can build, it should be of a quality that reinforces critical thinking and engagement. Scenario-based, interactive e-learning that is reinforced by on-the-job experiences and feedback provided by mentors and peers can be a valuable tool that connects all three critical elements of learning and expertise.