70:20:10 Rule of Learning and Development

The Islander – April 2016

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90% of all learning is on the job!

How much learning do we expect our crew to do once they are in a job? According to research, most of it!

To ensure that real learning takes place and endures, apply the 70 : 20 : 10 rule. With so much emphasis on courses and qualifications, it’s easy to think that crew are getting all the development they need off the yacht. Integrating both formal and informal training, is a more holistic and enduring way to learn and develop new skills and behaviours.

  • 70% from real life and on-the-job experiences, tasks and problem solving. This is the most important aspect.
  • 20% from feedback and from watching and working with role models.
  • 10% from formal training.

The model was created in the 1980s by three researchers and authors, Morgan McCall, Michael M. Lombardo and Robert A. Eichinger. The model continues to be widely used by many organisations across the globe. The authors believe that hands-on experience (the 70&) is the most important, because it enables individuals to discover and refine their skills, make decisions, deal with challenges, etc. in a “live” context. They can also learn from their mistakes and can often receive immediate feedback on their performance.

The 20% comes through a range of activities that include social learning, coaching, mentoring, collaborative learning and other interactions with peers. Encouragement and feedback are important elements of this valuable learning method.

The formula holds that only 10 percent of professional development comes from the traditional formal classroom environment. A surprise to many!

The question is how are you going to implement this 90% of on board learning and development for crew? Perhaps the first question should be – “Am I going to create a learning culture on board?” Once the answer is “yes”, it may not be as onerous as it at first appears.

There are many ways to help create the learning culture on board:-

  • Developing a buddy system and already you are providing a mentoring and learning environment. Whether doing or just watching and talking, they are learning.
  • Job and knock – could turn into Job & learn!
  • Ask someone junior to run a 15 minute tool box talk – the NHS have been running a system for years – watch one : do one : teach one (of operations – thankfully supervised!)
  • Hold monthly 1:1’s and ensure everyone has a current action plan in place, and that includes you!
  • When crew return from a course, get them to demonstrate some of their new found knowledge.
  • Earmark 30 minutes each week for crew development.
  • Go out of your way to give crew regular feedback – both positive and developmental.

So as a senior crew member if you are wondering how responsible you are for your junior crew’s learning … It’s a lot! 90%. Make a commitment this season to try out a couple of extra ways to increase your crew’s learning and development.

Impact Crew will support you to create the right culture for your yacht.  Impact Crew specialises in providing team and leadership development, along with other management consultancy services. 

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