The 70-20-10 rule for Personal Development and Learning with Examples.


Imagine yourself scaling a magnificent mountain. The peak, your personal development goals, seems distant and daunting. But you possess a powerful tool: the 70/20/10 rule, a framework to propel you forward. This rule emphasizes the crucial role of experiential learning (70%), social learning (20%), and formal learning (10%) in shaping your personal journey.

This blog article isn't just another theoretical guideline. We'll delve into the heart of the 70/20/10 principle with captivating stories, relatable examples, and actionable steps to transform you from a passive observer to an active architect of your own growth.

Strap on your metaphorical climbing gear, because we're about to embark on an enriching ascent towards self-improvement.

The 70% - Embracing the Thrill of the Climb: Experiential Learning

Think of the 70% as the rugged mountain terrain. It's where the real challenge lies, where you test your limits, learn from your failures and celebrate your victories.

  • Story: Sarah, a budding entrepreneur, had a vision for a sustainable clothing line. While she had devoured books and business courses (formal learning), the true test came when she launched her first product line. Through trial and error (experiential learning), she encountered challenges with production, marketing, and customer service. However, by actively seeking solutions, Sarah tackled these obstacles head-on, gaining invaluable knowledge and resilience.

  • Example: You aspire to become a more confident public speaker. Formal courses can equip you with the basics, but true growth happens when you actively participate in public speaking events, be it a club meeting, a toast at a wedding, or even volunteering for presentations at work. Each experience hones your delivery, strengthens your stage presence, and builds your confidence.

Experiential learning is not without its bumps and bruises. Here's how to navigate the challenges:

  • Embrace the discomfort: Stepping outside your comfort zone is essential for growth. While venturing into unfamiliar territory might be unsettling, remember, that's where the most significant learning often occurs.
  • Reflect and learn: Don't just plow through experiences. After each challenge, take time to introspect. Analyze what went well, what went wrong, and how you can improve for the next time.
  • Celebrate your wins: Acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how big or small. This reinforces a positive mindset and motivates you to keep climbing.

The 20% - The Power of the Guiding Ropes: Social Learning

Imagine a group of experienced climbers tethered together, sharing knowledge, and supporting each other's ascent. That's the essence of social learning (20%).

  • Story: David, a software engineer, felt stuck in his career. He decided to join a local developer community (social learning). Through interacting with peers, attending workshops, and participating in online forums, David gained valuable insights into new technologies and career paths. He also received mentorship from senior developers who offered guidance and helped him navigate challenges.

  • Example: Joining a running club not only keeps you accountable for your fitness goals (experiential learning) but also allows you to learn from other runners (social learning). You can exchange training tips, draw inspiration from each other's successes, and build a support system that motivates you to push further.

Here are ways to leverage the power of social learning:

  • Find a mentor: Seek guidance from someone who has walked a similar path and can offer valuable insights and advice.
  • Join a community: Surround yourself with individuals who share your interests and aspirations. Online forums, social groups, or local clubs can be excellent platforms for connecting with like-minded people.
  • Engage in discussions: Actively participate in conversations, share your experiences, and learn from the perspectives of others.

The 10% - The Sturdy Base Camp: Formal Learning

The 10% represents the foundation, the knowledge you acquire through formal learning.

  • Story: Maria, a passionate photographer, enrolled in a professional photography course (formal learning) to enhance her technical skills. This provided her with a strong understanding of camera functions, lighting techniques, and composition principles. This knowledge, coupled with her hands-on experience (experiential learning) allowed Maria to capture stunning photographs and elevate her portfolio.

  • Example: You want to become a more effective communicator. Taking a public speaking course or reading books on communication can equip you with the necessary tools and strategies to structure your message, deliver it confidently, and engage your audience.

Is the 70/20/10 model still relevant?

The short answer is: Yes, the 70/20/10 model is still relevant to personal development, but with some important caveats:

  • Valuable framework: It emphasizes the importance of multiple sources of learning.
  • Not a rigid formula: The specific percentages (70% experiential, 20% social, 10% formal) are a general guideline.
  • Focus on blended learning: The key takeaway is that personal growth thrives on a combination of all three.

Focus on blended learning: The key takeaway is that personal growth thrives on a combination of all three.

Here's a breakdown of why this model makes sense:

  • Experiential Learning (70%): Learning by doing is critical to gaining practical skills and knowledge.
  • Social Learning (20%): Interacting with mentors, peers, and communities fosters knowledge sharing, diverse perspectives, and motivation.
  • Formal learning (10%): Structured learning provides a solid foundation in core areas and introduces new concepts.

While the 70/20/10 principle provides a helpful framework, consider these points

  • Adaptability: The allocation of time and effort may vary depending on your individual learning style and goals.
  • Challenges:
    •     Experiential learning: Stepping out of your comfort zone can be unnerving.
    •     Social learning: Building strong relationships takes time and effort.
    •     Formal learning: Not all resources are created equal; focus on quality materials.

Here's how to overcome these challenges and effectively implement the 70/20/10 rule:

  • Take calculated risks: Venturing into uncharted territory can be daunting, but it's essential for growth.
  • Seek mentorship and community: Surround yourself with people who can offer guidance, share knowledge, and inspire you.
  • Choose formal learning wisely: Focus on well-regarded courses, workshops, or books that align with your specific goals.

Finally, the 70/20/10 model serves as a springboard for a well-rounded approach to personal development. By strategically incorporating these different facets of learning, you can embark on a successful journey of self-improvement 

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