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On-the-job learning

Editor's Note to Readers

Welcome to the second edition of Human Capital Matters for 2014—the digest for leaders and practitioners with an interest in human capital and organisational capability. This edition focuses on On-the-job learning.

Human Capital Matters seeks to provide APS leaders and practitioners with easy access to the issues of contemporary importance in public and private sector human capital and organisational capability. It has been designed to provide interested readers with a monthly guide to the national and international ideas that are shaping human capital thinking and practice. The inclusion of articles is aimed at stimulating creative and innovative thinking and does not in any way imply that the Australian Public Service Commission endorses service providers or policies.

Thank you to those who took the time to provide feedback on earlier editions of Human Capital Matters. Comments, suggestions or questions regarding this publication are always welcome and should be addressed to: humancapitalmatters [at] apsc.gov.au. Readers can also subscribe to the mailing list through this email address.

This edition of Human Capital matter opens with an Australian paper by Kajewski and Madsen that aims to demystify the ‘70:20:10’ model by looking at its origin and giving some practical examples of how it is being used. Next follows an industry White Paper from CrossKnowledge that looks at some of the new territories of learning including social, workplace, informal, and experiential learning. Rabin's recent paper then looks at the concept of ‘blended learning’ which combines formal and informal learning—addressing all segments of the 70:20:10 model.

Next follows a paper from Wilson et al that takes a cross-cultural view of educating leaders that focusses on the need for organisations to create systems and processes that enable managers to learn leadership from experience. Next is an ebook by McCauley et al written for human resource, organisation development, and training professionals who need real-world best practices that show actual workplace learning approaches and how they can be applied. Rounding out the selection in this edition of Human Capital Matters is a report by Henderson et al that looks at research aimed to establish the purposes, processes and provisions for continuing education and training; this involves identifying how best the tertiary education and training system can sustain Australian workers' employability across lengthening working lives.

Contents

Kajewski, K and Madsen, V. Demystifying 70:20:10 White Paper, Deakin Prime, Deakin University, May 2012

This paper was written with the aim of demystifying the 70:20:10 model by addressing the uncertainty of its origin and by providing some practical examples of how it is being used in a range of organisations.

Go to “Demystifying 70:20:10 White Paper”

Jennings, C. and Wargnier, J. (2012). Effective learning with 70:20:10: The new frontier for the extended enterprise. White paper launched by CrossKnowledge

The reader needs to provide their email address to download this paper. This paper investigates the new territories of learning such as social, workplace, informal or experiential learning. The paper notes that the 70:20:10 model is not intended as a rigid model but that it simply validates the fact that not all learning happens in formal learning settings, whether these are classrooms or structured digital environments such as virtual classrooms and eLearning courses.

Go to “Effective learning with 70:20:10: The new frontier for the extended enterprise”

Rabin, R. Blended Learning for Leadership-The CCL Approach, Center for Creative Leadership 2014

The author notes that true blended learning isn't merely mixing classroom and virtual training events. Instead, it's a combination of formal learning combined with workplace-based or ‘informal’ learning opportunities—addressing all segments of the 70:20:10 rule. This rule suggests that successful leaders learn within three clusters of experience: challenging assignments (70%), developmental relationships (20%), and coursework and training (10%). Blended Learning for leadership must go beyond coursework to engage leaders in the domains of developmental relationships and challenging assignments, which research shows is critical for leader development.

Go to “Blended Learning for Leadership-The CCL Approach”

Meena Surie Wilson, Ellen Van Velsor, Anand Chandrasekar, and Corey Criswell Grooming Top Leaders: Cultural perspectives from China, India, Singapore, and the United States, Center for Creative Leadership, 2014

The authors note that coursework and training are not enough. Organisations must create systems and processes that enable managers to learn leadership from experience. They must provide them with a clear sense of what needs to be learned, surround them with people who support their efforts to develop themselves, and promote effective developmental practices, such as reflection, dialogue, intentional goal-setting and feedback

Go to “Grooming Top Leaders: Cultural perspectives from China, India, Singapore, and the United States”

Cynthia D. McCauley, D. Scott Derue, Paul R. Yost, Sylvester Taylor Experience-Driven Leader Development: Models, Tools, Best Practices, and Advice for On-the-Job Development (Google eBook) 22 Nov 2013

The authors note that coursework and training are not enough. Organisations must create systems and processes that enable managers to learn leadership from experience. They must provide them with a clear sense of what needs to be learned, surround them with people who support their efforts to develop themselves, and promote effective developmental practices, such as reflection, dialogue, intentional goal-setting and feedback.

Go to “Experience-Driven Leader Development: Models, Tools, Best Practices, and Advice for On-the-Job Development”

Billett, S, Henderson, A, Choy, S, Dymock, D, Beven, F, Kelly, A, James, I, Lewis, J & Smith, R. Continuing education and training models and strategies: an initial appraisal, NCVER Research Report 2012

This report arises from a three-year program of research that aims to investigate how best the tertiary education and training system might be organised to maintain the employability of Australian workers across their working lives..

Go to “Continuing education and training models and strategies: an initial appraisal”

Kajewski, K and Madsen, V. Demystifying 70:20:10 White Paper, Deakin Prime, Deakin University, May 2012

This paper was written with the aim of demystifying the 70:20:10 model by addressing the uncertainty of its origin and by providing some practical examples of how it is being used in a range of organisations.

The review shows that there is a lack of empirical data supporting 70:20:10 model and there is also a lack of certainty about the origin.

Despite the lack of empirical evidence and agreement on its origin, the paper reports that it cannot be denied that the 70:20:10 model has gained significant momentum, and organisations are increasingly subscribing to the principles that learning takes place through a combination of formal and informal situations and through others.

The paper notes that there are many interpretations of the 70:20:10 model. The study found that the interpretations largely aligned with:

  • 70%—informal, on the job, experience based, stretch projects and practice
  • 20%—coaching, mentoring, developing through others
  • 10%—formal learning interventions and structured courses.

However some organisations reported using a different breakdown. One organisation was closer to 40% on the job, 30% coaching and mentoring, and 30% formal training. Another company reported that it has adjusted the breakdown to 50:30:20 to better suit its business needs.

The study found that support and integration of the 70:20:10 model within the organisations ranged from simply rhetoric to mandating its application.

The paper explores the benefits and challenges of applying the 70:20:10 model.

Most people interviewed agreed that the term 70:20:10 has enabled a greater awareness that significant development also happens outside of a formal learning event. The paper reports that implementing 70:20:10 in some cases has increased staff engagement as they realise that development was happening ‘all the time’.

The paper reports that the challenges related to implementing a 70:20:10 approach to organisational learning were largely focused on gaining buy-in and measuring impact. Several people interviewed stated that facilitating the mind shift that L&D can take place outside the traditional classroom had been challenging. Some organisations advised that they have struggled to help managers understand their role in the development of their people, while more than one organisation experienced resistance from their own HR and L&D teams who found the shift from being solely formal-training focused to be too challenging.

The paper also includes advice for effective practice. Key considerations include:

  • Customise the approach and determine how 70:20:10 will be integrated
  • Clarify expectations and create shared understanding
  • Keep communication simple
  • Be prepared for resistance

DeakinPrime, an entity backed by Deakin University provides learning and development solutions that enhance the performance of individuals and of the organisations they work in.

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Jennings, C. and Wargnier, J. (2012). Effective learning with 70:20:10: The new frontier for the extended enterprise. White paper launched by CrossKnowledge

The reader needs to provide their email address to download this paper. This paper investigates the new territories of learning such as social, workplace, informal or experiential learning. The paper notes that the 70:20:10 model is not intended as a rigid model but that it simply validates the fact that not all learning happens in formal learning settings, whether these are classrooms or structured digital environments such as virtual classrooms and eLearning courses. The authors acknowledge that organisations implementing the model need to adapt it to their own contexts. However, they provide the following examples of learning and developing through experience:

  • apply new learning in real situations
  • use feedback to try a new approach to an old problem
  • new work and solving problems within role
  • increased span of control
  • increased decision making
  • champion and/or manage changes
  • cover for others on leave
  • exposure to other departments/roles
  • take part in project or working group
  • coordinated role swaps or secondments
  • stretch assignments
  • interaction with senior management, e.g. meetings, presentations
  • day-to-day research, web browsing
  • leadership activities, e.g. lead a team, committee membership, executive directorships
  • cross functional introductions, site/customer visits
  • research and apply best practice
  • apply standards and processes, e.g. Six Sigma
  • work with consultants or internal experts
  • internal/external speaking engagements
  • budgeting
  • interviewing
  • project reviews
  • community activities and volunteering.

The paper includes a section that covers a range of answers to implementation questions. It is recommended that the model is not implemented during times of critical internal change. The 70:20:10 model is more about a mind-set and a set of processes than a ‘reachable’ goal. In this sense implementation is an ongoing process. The authors claim that 70:20:10 model can change organisations into learning organisations. They also emphasis implementing the model in as a whole and not simply focusing on one part of the model.

Charles Jennings is the Managing Director of Duntroon Associates, a UK-based Learning, Performance and Productivity consultancy company. Jérôme Wargnier Director of Business Consulting at CrossKnowledge. He specialises in the fields of strategic alignment and skills development, Jérôme Wargnier who studied at the University of Dauphine, Paris, has authored numerous articles on leadership and management skills and is a regular guest speaker at international conferences and lecturer at the French business school ESSEC.

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Rabin, R. Blended Learning for Leadership-The CCL Approach, Center for Creative Leadership 2014

The author notes that true blended learning isn't merely mixing classroom and virtual training events. Instead, it's a combination of formal learning combined with workplace-based or ‘informal’ learning opportunities—addressing all segments of the 70:20:10 rule. This rule suggests that successful leaders learn within three clusters of experience: challenging assignments (70%), developmental relationships (20%), and coursework and training (10%). Blended Learning for leadership must go beyond coursework to engage leaders in the domains of developmental relationships and challenging assignments, which research shows is critical for leader development.

Leaders need to demonstrate network perspective, boundary spanning, and political savvy. These topics and others can be discovered in the classroom or through virtual learning. But learner scaffolding must enter into the leader's own workplace environment for these types of skills to be practiced and improved. All components need to address behaviour change in the workplace. The challenge is to support the learner with appropriate materials, technology platforms, and other ‘scaffolding’ in the critical leadership domains of assignments and relationships.

Challenging assignments canvass increases in scope, horizontal moves, new initiatives, turnarounds, mistakes and ethical dilemmas.

The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®) is a global provider of executive education that develops better leaders through its exclusive focus on leadership education and research. Founded in 1970 as a non-profit, CCL helps clients around the world cultivate creative leadership—the capacity to achieve more than imagined by thinking and acting beyond boundaries.

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Meena Surie Wilson, Ellen Van Velsor, Anand Chandrasekar, and Corey Criswell Grooming Top Leaders: Cultural perspectives from China, India, Singapore, and the United States, Center for Creative Leadership, 2014

The authors note that coursework and training are not enough. Organisations must create systems and processes that enable managers to learn leadership from experience. They must provide them with a clear sense of what needs to be learned, surround them with people who support their efforts to develop themselves, and promote effective developmental practices, such as reflection, dialogue, intentional goal-setting and feedback.

Since 2005, Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) researchers have complemented their U.S. data-gathering with new global initiatives. They have collaborated with organisations in India, China and Singapore to review and extend what is known about how leadership is

There are five universally important sources of leadership learning in the four countries including bosses and superiors, turnarounds, increases in job scope, horizontal moves, and new initiatives.

There are also two unique sources of leadership learning specific to each country:

  • China: personal experiences and mistakes
  • India: personal experiences and crossing cultures
  • Singapore: stakeholder engagements and crises
  • United States: mistakes and ethical dilemmas.

Each was cited by a minimum of 20% of the country's interviewees and ranked among the top seven sources of development.

Among the leadership lessons learned from experiences, three are ranked as universally important in all four countries: managing direct reports, self-awareness, and executing effectively.

The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®) is a global provider of executive education that develops better leaders through its exclusive focus on leadership education and research. Founded in 1970 as a non-profit, CCL helps clients around the world cultivate creative leadership—the capacity to achieve more than imagined by thinking and acting beyond boundaries.

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Cynthia D. McCauley, D. Scott Derue, Paul R. Yost, Sylvester Taylor Experience-Driven Leader Development: Models, Tools, Best Practices, and Advice for On-the-Job Development (Google eBook) 22 Nov 2013

This book is written for human resource, organisation development, and training professionals who need real-world best practices that show actual workplace learning approaches and how they can be applied. Co-published with the Center for Creative Leadership, this book offers a compendium of best practices, tools, techniques, processes, and other resources to harness the developmental power of work experiences for leadership development. In addition the book includes illustrative case studies of leadership approached that have worked in such forward thinking organisations as Boeing, Microsoft, and Heineken.

A number of chapters in the book may be of use to readers with an interest in on-the-job training associated with leadership development, for example Chapter One discusses the drivers of on-the-job training. It acknowledges the need for managers and leaders to ‘stretch’ so that they are able to ‘reach’ to master new situations. The dimensions involved include:

  • Relationships—involving the need to interact with people who hold different perspectives, outlooks or viewpoints.
  • Expertise or Knowledge—involving the need to develop expertise or knowledge in an unfamiliar area in order to be successful.
  • Adaptability—involving the need to handle more ambiguity than one is used to.
  • Context—involving the need to work within a different function/department/area or culture.
  • How-to-skills—involving the need to spend time doing things he or she doesn't know how to.

Chapter 29 focuses on ‘Tactics for Learning from Experience’. This chapter is built around four learning tactics that individuals can use when facing challenging experiences. The chapter acknowledges that some employees may be willing to take on challenging experiences, however, they may limit their learning by using comfortable tried and tested tactics. The chapter states that most people only use one or two tactics and a first step for them to identify their preferences. A second step is for learners to appreciate how over-reliance on their preferred tactics can limit their ability to learn. Finally, it is suggested that individuals need a plan to expand the tactics that they use.

Chapter 62 focuses on fostering mentoring relationships as a way to invest in employees personal and career growth, as well as increase knowledge transfer and social capital. Under the mentoring relationships explained in the chapter, an effective mentor will intentionally invest in their protégés long-term career growth. Most mentoring programs go for from 6 months to 2 years depending on their purpose.

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Billett, S, Henderson, A, Choy, S, Dymock, D, Beven, F, Kelly, A, James, I, Lewis, J & Smith, R. Continuing education and training models and strategies: an initial appraisal, NCVER Research Report 2012

This report arises from a three-year program of research that aims to investigate how best the tertiary education and training system might be organised to maintain the employability of Australian workers across their working lives.

The researchers note that practice-based learning at work with guidance from co-workers was overwhelmingly the preferred model of learning for the workers interviewed and was the most commonly used. Four basic requirements were found to support practice-based learning to enable workers to gain the expertise valued by industry: workplace experience, direct support from experienced others, individualised support for learning and learner engagement.

Consistently the most common reference to learning was as a product of both a workplace and personal need or imperatives, but mainly realised through everyday work activities. These imperatives arose from a personal concern about the need to learn or be able to do something in the workplace that the individual could not yet perform.

The report notes that in terms of learning to sustain their current employment, the informants collectively expressed a strong preference for this being realised through guidance and support in their workplaces and while performing their work. Moreover, some work activities had these qualities inherent in them. Those engaged in shared work or teamwork often reported having inbuilt guidance and support and also opportunities for ‘shadowing’ more experienced workers and gradually engaging in more demanding tasks under their guidance.

Informants repeatedly referred to the effectiveness of the workplace as an environment to continue to develop their employability. Everyday work activities were claimed as being preferable in many instances to organised instructional activities.

Through a three-year project, ‘Change, work and learning: aligning continuing education and training’, a research team from Griffith University is attempting to systematically appraise how continuing education and training provision might be best ordered, organised and enacted in both education and workplace settings.

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