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The estimable Charles Jennings published an article yesterday in which he quotes a recently published survey by Lumesse, a presumed talent development company based in the US (Texas and Florida) with a heavy presence in South America. Charles begins:  

“The results of yet another 70:20:10 survey were published recently. The researchers (possibly on work experience) declared that “50:26:24 is the average learning mix in most companies right now”.

“The report of the 50:26:24 survey went on to say:

‘It’s widely accepted that the 70:20:10 model is the most effective learning blend for business, but getting to that perfect mix can be a challenge. It’s early days and we’ve got a long way to go, but when we crunched the first numbers on our new study, we could see that the current average mix of training in the L&D industry is actually:

  • 50% via ‘on the job learning’
  • 26% through ‘informal training’
  • 24% from ‘formal training’”

Charles goes on to pooh-pooh the findings, rightly so, by emphasizing that the 70:20:10 formula “is not a recipe to be used slavishly,” and, in fact, is not about the numbers at all. He says, “The numbers are a useful reminder that the majority of learning occurs through experience and practice within the workflow (the ‘70’), through sharing and supporting others, conversations and networks (the ‘20’),  and that a smaller amount of overall learning occurs through structured training and development activities (the ‘10’).” Further he says that the whole point of 70:20:10 is to emphasize the importance of informal learning.

Charles is all het up regarding this survey. I can understand his reaction: Mr. Jennings is considered one of, of not the, foremost promoter of 70:20:10, and when someone gets it as wrong as Lumesse clearly has, I’m sure it hurts.   

My reaction to Charles, however, is as follows: 

Whenever I read the conclusions of just about any survey, I’m reminded of the landmark study that Dr. John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at Stanford University, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2005 regarding published medical research, “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False.” The title is self-explanatory, and we’re talking well-funded, ostensibly carefully constructed research here. If you extend Dr. Ioannidis’ conclusions to a self-styled, uncontrolled, voluntary online survey . . . well, let’s just say I wouldn’t take the “50:26:24” results too seriously.

Dr. Ioannidis’ study: “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False”
The New Yorker article regarding his study: The Truth Wears Off
The Atlantic article regarding his study: Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science

All make for enlightening reading.

Another great article from Sukh. Very practical: 5 concrete tips:
1) Be good (not great) trainers
2) Be consultative about the organization
3) Interact with the organization’s leaders
4) Be aware of the public image of the organization
5) Read business related material.

Thinking About Learning

So you know how we hear lot’s in the profession about being more business minded to give ourselves value? Well, I’m onboard with that as a concept and as an ideal. It helps me to understand there are things I can and should be doing which will help me to be better at the job I do. If I choose to.

But what does it mean to be more business minded? How do you get more commercial acumen? How do you gain business acumen? As an L&Der, does this stuff actually make a difference to the job we do?

Well, it can make a big difference. It’s what sets ‘trainers’ apart from ‘L&D professionals’. To my mind, there’s a role for both in organisations.

We need trainers. That is people who are proficient (or even possible expert) in a particular skill set, and can help others learn that skill set…

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An outstanding article by a Twitter reference from a couple of months ago by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach:


As the CEO of a professional development company whose mantra is “Professional Development for the 21st Century Educator” I find myself continually cognitively juggling what’s best for my clients, what’s best for their students, and what’s best for our contractors and staff in an effort to find some way of making it all align with what needs to change in education.

It’s evaluation time. We encourage our communities to be brutally honest when they evaluate us. And we listen. Where it makes sense we shift or innovate.  It requires us to continually reinvent ourselves, to stay on top of where research and practice meet and to balance the desire for easy and structured with messy and self-directed.

Deep Reflection and Keeping the Focus on Learning
Evaluation time means deep reflection time for me personally. Especially when evals call you by name — pointing to what is perceived to be character flaws. It takes a thick skin to see past all that and look deeper to what is really going on- to keep your focus on learning by continually growing as a leader, learning about how to learn and how to model being a transparent learner. I want, more than anything else, to leave a legacy in education. I want what I spend my time doing to add value to the profession and to support teachers in helping their students self actualize. I also want to be part of lighting a fire that results in a learning revolution. I want to be a capacity builder who gives freely and learns openly.

But I have to tell you- I am frustrated. Really frustrated.

For example, here is a  recent evaluation comment:

I’m not sure that this is a very valuable experience, and I doubt I’d ever recommend it. It seems as if it’s based upon things like online communities and collaboration, which may have been new and innovative a few years ago, but which are kind of old hat now.

Old Hat? Come on. Have we really hit the tipping point with online communities and collaboration– true collaboration? Is deep collaboration (moving past talk and cooperation to appreciative and collective action ) so prevalent among education that we can call it “old hat”? And let’s say for sake of argument that learning in online communities isn’t innovative anymore– so what? Is our role to only play in sandboxes that are innovative or new and novel? Shouldn’t we be trying to  understand what is happening in those spaces that were new only a few years ago, determining how to best use them to learn and help our students learn? Is there value in knowing how to start, lead, implement, empower, and use online communities for the type of collaboration that is going to provide significant shift? The kind where we all bring our best giftings to the table and use them together to create something new and powerful. Are online communities the focus or merely the venue through which we learn? I do not remember anyone saying classrooms are dated and they have been around for hundred of years.

Which begs to ask a different question– are people confusing talking to people online with deep, connected learning? Does being part of a social networking site or a NING community mean you are going deep- growing  in your ability to co-construct or deconstruct knowledge? Does it mean you are collaborating if you post, reply to a post, Tweet, or engage in a #edchat conversation? Are we moving toward an acceptance of superficiality as a replacement for deep learning? Has our multiple choice  culture trained our brains to believe that innovation is the holy grail?

Personal Learning Networks

It is becoming ever apparent to me that those of us who are online learning prefer networks. Networks like we have on Twitter or other electronic spaces where we can share short snips of conversations and where our ideas are met with like minded support and agreement. The advantages of networking are many. And do not get me wrong- I am a huge fan. I believe Personal Learning Networks are one of the three prongs necessary to be a do it yourself learner in today’s world. But for all the positive connections, laughter, links, and ideas that networks bring, they only are the tip of what is needed to produce lasting change. I do not have to commit to anything when I network. I can be witty or not and still be part of the “cool kids”. Networks are very “me” centered in that I choose my mentors, feeds, resources, learning objects and those with whom I will learn. I am in control. I can be very visible and yet still quite passive in my learning. I can talk and talk and talk and never have to walk or put action to my ideas. I even get my need for belonging met (Maslow) and self esteem. And sometimes I meet others and from there we create a community where we do act collectively. For me, that is the key. If all I do is network I do not shift or grow because I am missing the opportunity to go deep and actually learn by doing. It takes both: Networks and Community. Online, global communities of practice and f2f learning communities in my local context.

Imagine the deep learning that can be produced when we come together in learning communities and do some of the following (below). These are the kinds of things that our Powerful Learning Practice communities members who dig deep engage in through out the year. And the impact is strong– don’t believe me? Look at what they say.

Here are the kinds of things I believe need to be happening as learners come together in online communities of practice.

Action Research Groups: Active research done by communities of practice focused on improvement around a possibility or problem in a classroom, school, district, or province.

Book Study Groups: PLPeeps, often in cross cohort groups, come together to read and discuss a book collectively in an online space.

Case Study Method: Case studies emphasize detailed contextual analysis of specific situations and their relationships to current thinking and pedagogy. Writing, discussing and reflecting on the cases from 21st Century lens produces  collaborative reflection and improvement on practice.

Community of Practice (CoP): A CoP is group of professionals with shared interests and challenges who make a commitment to improve or get better at something over time by sharing ideas, finding solutions, and creating innovations. This requires new dispositions and values such as resisting the urge to quit prematurely.

Connected Coaching: individuals on teams are assigned a connected coach who  discusses and shares teaching practices as a means of promoting collegiality and support and to help educators think about how the new literacies inform current teaching practices.

Critical Friends Groups (CFG): A professional learning team consisting of approximately 5-10 educators who come together voluntarily face to face at least once a month. Members are committed to improving their practice through collaborative learning. Using a CF protocols they examine each other’s teaching or leadership activities and share both positives and areas that need improvement in respectful ways.

Curriculum Review or Mapping Groups: Teams meet on a regular basis to review what they are teaching, reflect together on impact of and assumptions that underlie the curriculum, make decisions collaboratively. They often do lesson plan studies together.

Instructional Rounds: A process through which educators develop a shared practice of observing each other and analyzing learning and teaching from a research perspective and share expertise. Included in this is typically a way to examine how students are working toward becoming connected learners.

Personal Learning Network (PLN): A carefully selected tribe of people or resources who guid learning, point to learning opportunities, give quick answers to questions, and share knowledge and experience.

Professional Learning Communities (PLC): Face to face collections of educators who continuously seek and share learning and then act on what they learn. If done right they are teacher driven and use a distributive leadership model. Individuals take what they learn in their PLN, and CoPs back to the PLC and contextualize the information toward helping students in the school or district achieve.

Scale: Scaling up is a process of transitioning an idea or project from pilot implementation to full implementation in the following stages:

  • Depth – developing innovations that produce deep, transformative, and consequential changes in instructional practice;
  • Sustainability – maintaining durable changes in practice over substantial periods of time through robust designs;
  • Spread – widespread adoption that retains effectiveness while reducing the resources and expertise burden;
  • Shift – the innovations need to be “owned” by the users who then begin to view themselves as co-designers and co-evaluators; and
  • Evolution – the feedback loops from users to designers that allow all to adapt and rethink the model.

Self-Directed Learning: Making decisions about how to advance one’s own practice including reading books, visiting colleagues in their classrooms, transparently sharing through blogs and in online communities, attending webinars, going to a conference, networking, and collectively doing action research.

Old hat — I think not.
I simply do not think most schools are doing these things in online communities with people they have never met but have made a deep commitment to in terms of growing together and developing a collective efficacy from a none of us is as good or smart as all of us mentality. There is nothing, at least from the way I see it, old hat about learning in such deep and powerful ways collectively.

Please Reply… Tell me if I am crazy.
I would be very interested in what you think. Am I missing it? Am I on this island all by myself and everyone else has moved on? Are you regularly involved in the types of learning experiences I described above as connected learners?

Photo credits:

I got a request through LinkedIn for advice. A certain Joshua A. Agustí, an aspiring,  young recent college graduate in Chicago looking to begin his career in Training, Human Resources Development, and an Organizational Development practitioner. He told me he is interested in combining his knowledge and skills to increase human capital for businesses/organizations on a global scale.

I thought, fine. I’m probably one of many that Joshua has sent his email to. Nevertheless, I admire his ambition and the simple fact that he’s taking the trouble to ask. And, as you’ve read below, helping people is what life is all about, isn’t it? I thought to share my answer here.


Hello Joshua,

Thank you for your message. I’m honored that you consider me a valuable resource and have taken the time to ask my opinion.

Having said that, I’m not sure how I can help you. What I mean is, 1) I don’t know you very well, and 2) objectively you seem to be doing many things right. Your LinkedIn profile is well-developed, you belong to all the right LinkedIn groups, and your intern experience at LCW and now at Aparecio I’m sure has been putting you in touch with the right people. Just off the top of my head, however, and without knowing more about you, I would recommend the following:

1) Be more personally active: Don’t be afraid to show yourself. State your opinion, give your perspective. Even though I see that you’ve got a great LinkedIn profile, I don’t see that you’re particularly active in the groups. Ask questions, make observations, comment on the posts of others. Be visible. And authentic. I’ve found Twitter to be a great tool for this (more on that later).

2) Be involved with clients’ networks: Even though you seem to be well-networked among OD professional groups, don’t forget: that’s where all the sellers are. In order to get work, you need to be where the buyers are. That means joining groups that are focused on potential client issues: HR, HRD, and line manager groups (project managers, supply chain managers, etc.).

3) Have a social media strategy: LinkedIn is but one part of the puzzle. In order to complete the picture, it’s good to have an overall social media strategy. What I do is I focus on my blog. My Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn posts are mostly designed to steer as many readers as possible to my blog. My blog is my personal home page. Anything you need to know about me professionally is in that one place.

4) Use social media tools to their fullest: Using the various tools to strengthen each other works wonders, but so does using a tool thoroughly. A good example is the weekly Twitter chat #lrnchat. It’s a great place to meet people and to learn more about the learning profession. Read more at: There are more tweet chats, you can find a good list here:

5) Align yourself with high-profile people: How you do this is up to you, but consider sponsoring a speaker or hosting a high-profile corporate figure. Last year I worked with a colleague to bring Rev. Jesse Jackson to Europe. This gives you an anchor to make yourself known. Aside from the inspiring experience it was hanging out with “the Rev” for a whole week, it was great for my profiling – “Oh, you’re the guy who brought Rev. Jackson here!”

6) Develop your own “brand”: It sounds easier than it is, but make sure that when people think “Joshua Agusti” they think “focus area,” whatever that might be. It requires an enormous amount of focus, concentration and consistency. But if you want to be successful, make sure people remember you for what your value is. Continuously build that value by learning, growing and expanding your qualifications. Become licensed in psychometric tools, assessment methods and leadership evaluation tools. Not only does this build value in you, it also helps introduce you to people who can help you.

7) Profile your uniqueness: Especially if your brand is truly unique, you should make the most of it. And I don’t mean “unique” in the sense that it never existed before. Quite the contrary: it could be as common as dirt. But unique in the sense that your target group has never heard of it before. That means making new combinations, a new twist on something old, for example.

8 ) Promote your passion: It’s a lot easier if you feel good about it. And your passion will sell itself.

9) Don’t invest in your “career,” invest in YOU: Your “career” will happen the way you want it to. Don’t be concerned about fitting to a prescribed (or “pre-ascribed,” they’re both applicable) pattern. You can make it what you want. We’ll all be better off for it.

10) It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it: Speaks for itself.

That’s it for now. I hope this helps. If I think of anything else I’ll send it along.



I was approached last week by a student from one of the professional universities in the Hague looking for information. She and her fellow students were preparing a fictitious case regarding a merger between KLM, Air France and JAL. Her task was to examine training possibilities to insure that the merger addressed cultural differences.

Coincidentally, I had a meeting planned for the next day, and one of the people planning to be there was formerly one of the directors of KLM during the actual merger with Air France a few years ago. One of his responsibilities during this time was defining training for cabin personnel in dealing with the cultural changes during the merger. A perfect match, in other words. I invited her to join the meeting.

The meeting went very well. The student, Marieke Harderwijk, was very professional and adhered perfectly to our agreed-upon protocol. Later in the day I received the following email from her:

Dear Mr. Salazar,

To begin with, I would like to thank you from my heart that I was able to be a part of the meeting today.

Secondly, I marvel over the fact that you, whom by all appearances seem to me to be a very modest and self-effacing man, have an enormous amount of knowledge and experience. You gave me, a simple student, just like that the chance to attend a very important meeting, sight unseen. There are few people on this earth who would have done that for someone.

I find it especially inspiring how you use your knowledge and experience also in daily life to make the world a better place, such as your project you mentioned between the church and mosque.

Thank you so much!

With warm regards,

Marieke Harderwijk

Even though one doesn’t necessarily help others for extrinsic rewards, this email was certainly a reward for me. I was surprised, and humbled, to have received it. The following Monday was Martin Luther King Day in the US, and his quote sums up my feelings,

“An individual has not begun to live until he can rise above the narrow horizons of his particular individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. Every person must decide, at some point, whether they will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ’What are you doing for others?’”
– Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., August 11, 1957

I thank YOU, Marieke. From my heart.

I’ve found the best quote in this article to be “Unless a company can connect diversity to business goals, it’s tough to keep investing in it.”

The only real business solution to diversity is to 1) recognize the differences, 2) link those differences to one’s own behavior and 3) integrate this behavioral change into business processes. This way it is possible to use the differences inherent in diversity to generate added value. This makes diversity investment a true investment that delivers returns, rather than a cost. Even more importantly, it justifies even more investment when times are tough, rather than reduction.

Read more: The business case for diversity – Washington Business Journal

This video is about the “learning of the future.” To be honest, I hope not. I mean, it’s a nice use of technology, but it seems a shame that these kids are with each other in classroom in one of the most beautiful natural environments on earth, yet so little was said about interaction with that environment (IRL*, not with VR* goggles) and collaboration with each other. (YouTube

It took them until 3:27 to use the word “collaboration,” or anything like it, and then it disappeared. What about teamwork? What about working with each other. This video is a nice ad for Apple, and the graphics from Blue Mars are gorgeous, but I’d rather hear more about how the tool actually does help them prepare for the future.


* IRL = In Real Life. In other words: face to face.
* VR = Virtual Reality. In other words: not.

#lrnchat is an online chat over the social messaging service Twitter that now happens twice every Thursday: first at 4:30-6pm GMT  and then again at 8:30-10pm ET/5:30-7pm PST.

It is for learning professionals who come together to exchange ideas and thoughts that are prompted by questions posed by a moderator. The sessions last 1.5 hours, and in yesterday evening’s first session the overall topic was “The Intersection of Online and Inperson Education” and within this framework four questions were posed:

Q1) What are some great techniques for online educators to bring a personal element to their facilitation?
Q2) What are some modern techniques classroom educators can use to add digital depth to their programs?
Q3) Would you rather train online or in person, and why?
Q4) What do you prefer learning online or in person, and why?

It was a wonderful exchange with many great ideas. Online learning at its best!!!

What matters to CEOs and corporate learning: it’s all about the business results (T&D magazine #learning #results #ROI):

An article by the training ROI authority Jack Phillips in the January issue of T&D magazine shows the results of research among a large number of CEOs regarding what they want to see from their corporate learning investments. Even though a whopping 96% want to see the results of learning and development back in their business impact data, only 8% claim to see it now. This demonstrates an enormous mismatch in L&D investments and providing business leaders with what they want to see.

The article lists a number of practical steps that we as learning professionals can now take to start showing business results. Even though Phillips is renowned for his admittedly complex training ROI calculations, the solutions he mentions are practical, immediate and can be undertaken with a minimum of investment. Among others they include focusing on objectives, integrating personal learning scorecards, providing success stories and building evaluation early into the L&D design.

“Confronting CEO Expectations About the Value of Learning,” by Jack J. and Patti P. Phillips, T+D 64 (2010) 1 (Jan); p. 52 – 56 (5p.)

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