Bringing Learning to Action

I am a kind of person who enjoy learning. Bookstore or library is a place that I always comfortable with. Internet is the same place. It offers me a massive resource to find anything that I want. I have a lot of books, together with subscription of online courses like Udemy or Coursera – my favorite learning platforms.

But there is one problem. I always feel that my interest of learning does not always reward me an advanced capabilities in the domain that I have studied . For example, I have read dosens of business and self-improvement books, but I never reach myself a satisfying level of effectivity while doing my job.

So then I did a small research on this topic, and found a bunch of topic of learning process. Again, when I capture all the information, many of it I have heard through training, articles, and other means, but how many of it has been applied in my life? probably very little.

It is widely suggested that learning has to follow the 70:20:10 model. This is based on the work by Morgan McCall, Robert Eichinger and Michael Lombardo in the 1980s. At that time, they suggested that the best leaders develops their best through means other than formal training. The first chunk, 70%, is coming from informal, on the job, experience based, stretch projects and practice. Basically what we do. The other 20 % is taken from coaching, mentoring, developing through others. I believe everybody will realize once we start to teach anything, he or she will understand better. The last part, 10%, comes from formal learning interventions and structured courses, the one that people mostly chasing for.

In John Zenger’s book How to be Exceptional, learning is something that need to be actioned, which they call action learning. Basically it means the learning process should focus on creating action rather than only passively captured. Together with constant review to see whether our action is performed in the right way.


But doing it several times does not help to make the learning result applicable in the long run. It is always the case that we study very hard before an exam and ends up forgetting everything the next day. Sustainability is the key here, which consists of 5 key components to make it possible.


So it is not an easy task to capture something and learn it, but to sustain it to yourself, will become the bigger issue. It requires discipline and constant progress. But I believe that is the beauty. Once you step it into action, and getting the “aah” feeling when you apply it into real world problem, you will realize that that’s the joy of learning. By writing this post, actually I am acquiring the 20%, by sharing the knowledge to people.

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