Because we don’t care about creating learning organizations

70-20-10Among the hundreds of management framework that are available globally, one of them resonates strongly within me for the last 18 months: the 70:20:10 framework for learning.


This model puts a strong emphasis on what is also called learning on the job or “learning by experience”.


Apart from the fact that it provides a quite straightforward, yet almost always overruled, statement, this model is questioning the very concept of learning organizations.

Or at least, it is challenging its implementation in a vast majority of organizations.


I indeed observed that in most cases, as soon as you say or write the word learning, immediately, whatever the topic it is, it fells down to the responsibility (and the silo, of course…) of the learning & development – L&D – team (or worse, the training department, or even worse and please excuse my French, la direction de la formation).


The direct consequence is that the mission of setting up a learning organization (whatever it means…) is rapidly translated into the design & implementation of learning platforms, learning programs, learning modules, …
All these initiatives are directly handled by the L&D teams, dealing with external partners to provide the most sophisticated and up-to-date learning technology to the rest of the organization.


Where is the issue?


We have stopped talking about WORK!


How do these learning platforms or programs relate to work? not always sure..

How do they integrate and connect with working environment? it’s getting better but still not really clear…

To what extent learning organizations are designed around those who work? I won’t even take the risk to answer this one…


I have the feeling that in this quest for learning organizations, companies have completely despised the learning benefits of work, projects, assignments, experience, failure, success, …all these very daily and Human events in the life of a modern worker.


The 70:20:10 framework brings this huge benefit of re-emphasizing the power of work on learning. And the evangelists of this model are even going further…


70-20-10 newsletterIn a newsletter I received from the 70:20:10 Forum mid-November, they are pushing towards a shift in terms of the mission of L&D teams, the contents they produce and the way they are delivered.
It’s all summed up in that brilliant statement:
Organisations around the World are adopting the 70:20:10 framework to support a transition in the role of learning professionals from being a training provider to a performance consultant in order to drive performance improvement


So please forget about learning organizations and focus your efforts on creating and developing performing organizations where people go further in their work every day, not asking themselves whether they are learning or not, just pushing their own boundaries in the pursuit of a bigger purpose… and enjoying it!


Performing organizations are characterized by the conditions in which they are operating not by the quantity of contents and programs created and delivered. These key conditions are always the same:

  1. A purpose for the organization, stating its raison d’être and its performance target
  2. Experience based working tools & environment, fostering initiative, sharing and learning
  3. Collaboration, recognition and rewards as the basics of the ways of working (and learning…)


We need to think of the modern work place as pre-schools, designed in order to be able to touch, try, share, create, deliver as many things as possible and as fast as possible.
My son, who is in pre-school, is not spending his days in a learning organization, he’s just a kid enjoying every moment of his life because he is doing new things everyday, he is experiencing the right conditions to do so, nothing to lose, nothing to manage, only things to discover and to share with his friends…

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