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The 70:20:10 framework and the transfer of learning

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Human Resource Development Quarterly

Published online on


--- - |2 The capacity of an organization to innovate, change, and be effective depends on the skills and abilities of employees, highlighting the importance of developing individual capabilities. The 70:20:10 framework is used by practitioners to guide them when developing effective learning and development programs. Although the framework has been adopted globally in both private and public sectors, its effectiveness has not been assessed in relation to the transfer of learning. Using qualitative data from the Australian public sector, this study explores how the framework is being implemented and whether it facilitates the transfer of learning to build middle management capability. Results showed that despite middle managers' awareness of, and willingness to take part in, ongoing skill development, attempts to develop capability through learning transfer by implementing the 70:20:10 framework were not achieving the desired outcomes. The research suggests that learning transfer and managerial capability development was hindered through four misconceptions regarding the framework's implementation. These are: an overconfident assumption that unstructured experiential learning automatically results in capability development; a narrow interpretation of social learning; the expectation that managerial behavior would automatically change following formal training and development activities without the need to actively support the process; and a lack of recognition of the requirement of a planned and integrated relationship of all three aspects of the framework. We suggest future research seeks to explicate the role of social learning in supporting the efficacy of both formal and experiential learning. - Human Resource Development Quarterly, EarlyView.