Does portfolio based learning provide a way to support the 70-20-10 learning model?

by Paul Campion


Does portfolio based learning provide a way to support the 70-20-10 learning model?

~ 70-20-10 ~

AUGUST 19th 2016· by Paul Campion


In a previous blog we talked about the ‘70-20-10 conundrum’ and how the 70-20-10 model presents a real challenge in today’s learning environment.

Employers are trying to overcome the challenges of monitoring, supporting and facilitating the learning and development that’s taking place within their organisation. Whilst employees are confronted with demonstrating evidence of the learning and progression which is personally significant.  

So what’s the solution to these issues? Traditional LMS, VLE, HRMS, Intranet or File Share platform are not focused on solving the 70-20-10 conundrum. These systems typically lack the flexibility for individuals to record their evidence of learning and development. A possible solution to this lack of flexibility is using learning journals or training logs. Whilst this offers a partial solution, often people need more than a blank piece of paper to create meaningful records of their learning to support reflection and planning.

 With portfolio-based learning, individuals are given prompts to support the recording of their activities. This may take many forms but it can be as simple as three questions to get people thinking - What?, So What?, Now What? For more targeted activities a scaffolded portfolio can “coach” an individual via focused questioning. For example if a member of staff attends a conference, a template can be designed to surface their interests, how the topic applies to their professional context, what’s needed to progress the idea and when might they start to see results. The prompts within the scaffolding should be aligned to the organisation’s core vision and values.

Scaffolded portfolios can be used to support any learning, formal, informal or even accidental. This flexibility means that there is a natural fit for 70:20:10, where the learning is often difficult to surface, capture and make apparent to the organization.


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What (does it offer)?

1. Flexibility

The personal configurable nature of portfolios means portfolios can lend their hand to almost any context or situation. This means that even in large organisations a single system can be used to support learning.  

2. Learner Ownership of Personal Development

Individuals record and plan their own learning in the portfolio. This helps support engagement and buy in by the employee and can be used to support organisational requirements such as appraisal, performance review and promotion.

 A professional portfolio can help individuals demonstrate their capabilities and make a strong impression, provide proof of value, and differentiate themselves from others. 

3. Lifelong and lifewide learning

 Using the portfolio system to record ongoing activity gives a long term view of the individual, allowing them to draw from a personal archive of achievement and experience. Individuals may choose to record experiences from outside of the working environment, which may demonstrate valuable skills that can be transferred into the workplace. 

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So What?

In today’s learning & development environment there is an emphasis and importance attached to lifelong learning and professional development. A career or professional portfolio can be used to assess your learning and development over time.

A portfolio is a means to reflect on personal learning goals and to assess your progress in reaching those goals. Reflecting is often challenging, but by providing a scaffolded approach to support the process, individuals can create deeper, more meaningful records of their development. High-level thinking about personal development is important, recording and reflecting upon specific examples is even better.

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Now What?

A good starting point is to look at your own organisation in the context of portfolio thinking.

Does your organisation surface both formal and informal learning activities? How are you supporting employees in capturing these activities in relation to learning and development in support of appraisals, performance reviews and ongoing career development?

Portfolio based learning is extremely popular and is used extensively in colleges and universities across the UK, USA and Australia and is now being utilised within the corporate workplace, it is a great way to support the 70-20-10 learning methodology. It is a convenient and personally engaging solution for tracking and planning the development of individuals, whatever the industry.

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With over 20 years of experience working with multi-national companies, Paul is PebblePad's resident expert on the business world. When he’s not consulting with organisations of all sizes on how PebblePad can help with the likes of talent management and appraisal, you'll most likely find him appraising his own game out on the golf course - a process, which, by his own admission, rarely ever includes the word "talent". Luckily for us he is very talented at helping customers understand how PebblePad can make a difference to their business.