Relational is the new Social Learning – A new 70:20:10 ?

I periodically scan the environment for new developments in informal learning. The folks at Docebo have a new white paper out, produced in partnership with the Aberdeen Group. It’s an interesting look at the learning landscape, modifying the 70:20:10 model  in a way that I think is very promising.


They identify 40% of job learning as “experiential” – learning from performing one’s assigned tasks, interacting with clients and doing rotational assignments.  They break “social learning” into “referential” which is feedback, coaching and mentoring from managers and/or leaders, and “relational” —  learning from managers and peers which takes place in a social context through participation in communities of practice, knowledge sharing, collaboration, social networks and other social activities. The key feature of Relational learning is that it is relationship based.  Finally, they see 25% of learning as coming from traditional coursework or prescribed content delivered in a classroom or online.

Docebo’s product is designed to support efforts to formalize and capture this Relational learning.  Their idea is to make it easy for workers to take video and/or notes of best practices, upload it to the system, where it is vetted by a committee identified for this purpose, and then made available widely to the organization.

This is a very exciting approach, especially for organizations in dynamic  environments like health care  where “best practices” are mostly being discovered in the field rather than having been honed over decades and presided over by the Learning and Development team.  It’s lovely to have a platform designed to support this kind of organizational learning, but clearly, it takes more than software to enable this approach to the learning organization.  There’s a culture which needs to be in place, as well, one which privileges

  • Knowledge sharing over knowledge hoarding
  • Time spent documenting in addition to time spent doing
  • Time committed to vetting and organizing the information gathered.
  • Time spent keeping up with the contributions made

I suspect that in orgs where such cultural norms are instantiated, any number of platforms could serve as effective facilitators of the effort.   It’s in developing this participative culture that the challenge lies!