Blended Learning – Best Way to Develop Talent?

‘Personally, I am always willing to learn, though I don’t always like being taught.’ – Winston Churchill


Today, more than ever before, a manager’s ability and willingness to learn from experience is the foundation for successfully leading with impact. How do you become a leader?

Consider the 70-20-10 rule that emerged from 30 years of Centre For Creative Leadership’s Lessons of Experience research, which explores how executives learn, grow, and change over the course of their careers. This rule suggests that successful leaders learn within three clusters of experience: challenging assignments (70%), developmental relationships (20%), and coursework and training (10%).

Most organizations acknowledge that formal training alone can be limited in impact. Yet they continue to invest most of their training budget in classroom events and eLearning

assets. They struggle with how to systemize and evaluate a learning strategy that also includes workplace experiences and relationships.

The key to a True Blended Learning approach  is a combination of formal learning combined with workplace based or “informal” learning opportunities –addressing all segments of the 70-20-10 rule.


70% – from on-the-job experiences

  • Stretch assignments or committees
  •  Managing or being involved in a new project
  • Giving a presentation
  • Attending meetings in another department
  • Partnering with others on the team on a project
  • Being a “project” or “team lead”
  • Doing a job rotation
  • Managing an event

20% – Development Relationships

  • Shadowing someone in another role
  • Identify a mentor or peer coach
  • Give and ask for specific feedback on development areas
  • Get advice and guidance from experts in the skill areas you are focused on building
  • Attend presentations, lectures, events to learn from others

10% – through formal training, coursework


  • Classroom based skill building
  • Virtual classrooms and online learning
  • Games and simulations
  • eModules
  • Books, articles and courseware
  • Social learning – Twitter, Blogging, Linkedin
  • Webinars

The way leaders learn will change dramatically in the next few years. t’s impossible to separate learning from work – nor should you want to. The challenge is to support the learner with appropriate materials, technology platforms, and other “scaffolding” in the critical leadership domains of assignments and relationships on the path to leadership development.

Blended learning is not just about technology or mixing classroom with online experiences. It’s not about social media or the latest trends that promise to change the way learning happens forever.

It’s about building in a systematic, thoughtful manner, a structure and an ecosystem that enables and encourages learning continuously.  It’s about ingraining learning in the very DNA of the organization at as early a stage as possible. Only then would great talent and leaders get created.


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