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Driving Behavioural Change Beyond the Online Environment

Think about the last time you noticed a behavioural change in yourself because of learning that you completed. 

Was it from a book you read?
B) Was it something that someone showed you?
C) Was it from practising a task repeatedly?

There are many ways that we as humans learn. What I find particularly interesting is how we create sustainable behavioural change through learning and which type of learning has a higher success rate of achieving this.

This made me think about the 70:20:10 model and how we learn through different avenues.

If you haven’t heard of the 70:20:10 model, here is the low down! Research shows that:

- 70% of what we learn comes from job-related experiences.
- 20% of what we learn comes from developmental relationships.
- 10% of what we learn comes from formal coursework and training.
(Smith, 2016).

When it comes to learning in the workplace, often companies will focus on the formal side of learning (articles, eLearning and training courses etc.), which when you consider the 70:20:10 model is only a mere 10% of where learning comes from (Smith, 2016)! Whilst formal learning is important and allows us to see things from a new perspective, learn something new and obtain the skills required for our job, it doesn’t necessarily drive behavioural change.

Whilst there are always going to be doubts about models, such as the 70:20:10 model, and their alignment to reality, for us it highlights a very important consideration when it comes to learning. This consideration is the importance of focusing on how our target audience learns best and how to create valuable return on investment.

For us at Belvista Studios, when we develop eLearning our primary goal is not to deliver information on a screen, it is to create sustainable behavioural change that continues well beyond the completion of the online experience. This is where creating learning experiences outside of the computer screen comes into play. It is possible to create eLearning that not only provides your learner with the formal content necessary to learn but also encourages them to continue their learning journey outside of the online environment.

Here are some tips on how you can encourage your learner to participate in on-the-job learning experiences and even involve themselves in developmental relationships, which is the sum of the ‘other 90% of learning’ as per the 70:20:10 model.

1. Create Quests Outside of the Online Environment (70%: JOB RELATED EXPERIENCES)

A great way to support behaviour change and practice in a real environment is to send your learners on quests that are outside of the online environment.

An example of when we did this was for a recent induction project that we worked on for a client. There was quite a lot of formal content ready to be distributed to inductees at this organisation such as code of conduct information, company strategic goals, the company vision and the list goes on. All these things whilst important, did not reflect the immediate needs of the inductee on their first day (according to survey feedback from inductees and those within their 3 month probation period).

So, what did we do?!

We thought about what ‘on-the-job’ and realistic experiences would be beneficial to the inductees outside of learning the formal content in the online environment. Through the questions that we asked the inductees and the insights they shared, we came up with experiences such as:

- Find out where the toilet is.
- Have coffee with your Supervisor.
- Meet someone from the greater team.
- Familiarise yourself with the office building.

Rather than providing the inductees with text on a screen to meet these objectives, we sent them out into the real world to physically experience them and in turn learn from ‘doing’ (which makes up a significant 70% of where learning comes from according to the 70:20:10 model).

Check out the examples of the quests we created below:

An induction quest to set inductees up for success by learning from a team member. 

An induction quest for inductees to learn about their hours of work, timesheets, use of information technology and more at their new organisation.

These quests are both examples of how we created on-the-job and real-life learning opportunities for inductees outside of the online learning environment. Think about how you can do this for any upcoming or current learning solutions that you have.

2. Encourage Developmental Relationships (20%: DEVELOPMENTAL RELATIONSHIPS)

Learning can also come from developmental relationships between staff. This can be peer to peer, team member to supervisor or peer to mentor for example.

I am a complete ambassador for learning through relationships, so the possibilities for learning through this avenue gets me excited! When I think about my career and everything that I have learnt, a significant portion of this knowledge came from what I learnt from others.

So, how can we encourage this person to person learning through online learning experiences?

A great way to achieve this is to make learning social.

We as human beings, since the start of time, have learnt complex lessons from each other through knowledge sharing, storytelling and modelling, so why stop now?

In our day and age, we have access to an array of social media platforms and this results in limitless opportunities for collaboration. So, if there is a new skill to be taught at an organisation why not incorporate social elements into the learning experience?

An example of how we did this was through a safety module for groundsmen at a school. Rather than the groundsmen sitting at a screen solo and learning and retaining as much of the formal information as they could, it became a resource for them to discuss as a team. See an excerpt from the resource we created below.

This screen was used as a conversation starter for the groundsmen. Supervisors were given this module to share with their team. The team were able to discuss different safety topics as a group and share their safety knowledge with each other while sitting in their tool shed using an iPad.

This is a great example of how you can incorporate social learning in your eLearning module and create learning outside of the online environment.

I hope that these practical examples add value to the learning solutions that you create. As I said earlier, whilst there are always going to be doubts about models, such as the 70:20:10 model, and their alignment to reality, tapping into different ways of learning (outside of formal content) is important.

Think about what you have learnt over time and where this learning has come from. Did on-the-job experiences and relationships play a significant part?

When you are designing your learning, think not only about the formal content/training coursework that your learners require but also think about how they could best practice and retain the information. Strive for behavioural change and return on investment with your learning solutions not just sharing of information.

We would love to hear how you encourage on-the-job experiences and collaborative learning through your online learning. Whilst we live in a digital world, lets enable our learners to experience and collaborate in the real one!

Smith, A. (2016). Why the 70:20:10 Learning Model Works, and How to Implement It. Retrieved from

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