Sustained Learning through the 70:20:10 Learning Model

Minister Masagos, in his speech during the launch of the Invictus Fund, said this – “Given the crisis and challenges we face, the sector (social services) must make a quantum leap from SSA 1.0 to 3.0 in terms of the transformation of service delivery, in terms of adoption of technology and in terms of how we use our resources to strengthen our agencies.” (28 Sep 2020, at the launch of The Invictus Fund (second tranche)) The social service sector remains a critical sector in Singapore, and more so in this pandemic.

Against this backdrop, we asked ourselves in our recent partnership with the National Council of Social Service (NCSS), “how can Capelle do all the above to support the SSAs to fulfil the following”:

  1. Build digital capabilities;
  2. Drive technology implementation to transform service delivery; and
  3. Ensure successful adoption of technology?

Considering the key areas of needs and focus of the project, and our experience partnering over 40 Social Service Agencies (SSAs) in the last five years, we proposed the 70:20:10 Learning Model. In support to fulfil the above goals, it is key we recognize that learnings must be adaptive and sustained for the long haul.


The 70:20:10 Learning Model

This model was originally developed by Morgan McCall, Robert Eichinger, and Michael Lombardo at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) in the mid-1990s. It was based on a study to examine how executives learn, grow, and change over the course of their careers. The findings brought surprising shifts in the mindset of many CEOs and CHROs.

*Source: www.ccl.org

The 70:20:10 Learning Model has since then been widely utilized by organizations for sustained effectiveness. Using the 70:20:10 Learning Model and the needs of NCSS, we designed an Action Learning solution that allows learners to put their learning into action. This is done through them working on actual business issues faced by the organization.


3 Key Steps to Action Learning

First things first, is to identify an actual problem statement that is of significant importance and urgency to the SSA. Some examples of problem statements that are identified include:

  1. How might we enhance our tracking system to manage our volunteer resource more effectively for our program staff?
  2. How might we automate our current workflow for our training needs analysis, registrations and approvals, and staff training records tracking?
  3. How might we streamline our assets management to enable real-time and easy reporting?

After assessing the first step of identifying the problem statement, we put together learning workshops based on a set of competencies, which we feel are appropriate and critical for the SSAs in technology implementation projects.

These skills could include: design thinking, process mapping, project management, change management, and technology evaluation.

The third step is to put in place Learning Coaches to support the team through this whole process of action learning. These Learning Coaches will journey with these SSAs to share best practices and reinforce learnings regularly for a period of 9 months.

To ensure effective outcomes of the action learning, there must be a project sponsor that exemplifies commitment and support to the working team. At the same time, the project sponsor must be able to provide direction and help eliminate any unclarity or roadblocks, if any should arise.

On the other hand, there must also be learners who are open-minded and committed to learning the required skillsets, as well as working on the identified problem statement.


Advantages of the 70:20:10 Learning Approach

Firstly, this approach allows for diversity in learning. Everyone differs in learning style and the way information is captured. Adopting this approach will give learners the flexibility to shape their learning experience in a way that works best for them.

Secondly, having the right tools and resources in place, the 70:20:10 learning approach also enables your learners to make their learning immediately actionable. When they feel empowered to take action in the workplace, they will then focus on their career goals, be more eager to collaborate with peers, and probably take more initiative to connect and build relationships.

Thirdly, since most learning opportunities in this approach are provided on the job and through workplace relationships, it allows learners to leverage specific components based on their immediate needs; it allows them time to move into more intensive experience-based learning when they are ready.

In our working with the SSAs, we found the 70:20:10 Learning Model to be a suitable and effective tool for their experiential learning. As an organization grows to be more confident in their experiential learning, it would then be able to apply this framework to address other challenges. Capelle believes this is one of the ways to grow organizational capability and ensure sustained workplace effectiveness. As we partner with 15 SSAs on this journey, we are excited to see transformations in the organizations’ learning culture.



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