Explore to search new meanings and connections in learning


Like all explorers, learners need to accept and recognize the risk of losing their way and hitting a wall. In this fourth of five-blog series on 5E training and learning model (Engage Explain Experiment EXPLORE Embed), we look at EXPLORE to see how learners discover answers through trial and error.

Training designers should create environments that are secure and conducive to learning – environments where learners become creators of knowledge. No ‘learning pathway’ can be completely plotted beforehand. While designers do their best to create environments that enable their learners, only learners know at which stage of their personal journey the penny has dropped.

Exploration doesn't have to be formal training

Study conducted by Morgan McCall and his colleagues at the Center for Creative Leadership found western managers taking part in the research broke down the acquisition of their job-related knowledge as follows:
  • 70 percent of their knowledge from job-related experience
  • 20 percent from interactions with others at work (social)
  • 10 percent from formal educational events like training, coaching and mentoring
The study has little value from the point of view of scientific research; it does not state that formal training is of little use. As Charles Jennings, one of the promoters of the model, stated:“70:20:10 is a reference model and not a recipe”. The model, therefore, provides a framework for aligning the development strategy with the real world. It is not about numbers.

Why “70:20:10” proportion is not a recipe

This reference model is about placing formal training in a systemic perspective. The intention and objectives of the formal learning situation had been set by the institution (e.g., school, business, etc). On the flipside of the spectrum are informal training situations initiated by learners. Between both of these, there are several nuances.We can say formal training encourages exploration in the following manner:
  • Prepares correct steps for progressing from one difficulty to another, in line with the ‘zone of proximal development’
  • Sets aside time for task
  • Takes into account time required for learning – from becoming aware of the learning to transferring it into real-world application
  • Allows for errors to be made
There are many factors difficult to facilitate in real life. As such, formal training facilitates transferability of knowledge and provides a more effective way of learning from experience and interactions.There’s a fine line between formal, social and experiential training. Formal approach incorporates the dynamic of social learning and going back and forth between work and training situations.

What psychology says

Psychologist Albert Bandura emphasized the role played by social relations in learning:“Affective learning resulting from direct experience can occur vicariously by observing people’s behaviour and its consequences for them.Vicarious learning does not dispense with direct experience in all cases, but it does, where possible, provide a means of facilitating and inciting people to invest themselves if the consequences observed are positive.Learning through observation effectively makes individuals capable of acquiring behaviours or knowledge without having to create them gradually using a process of trial and error.” Source: Michel Monot, cited by Paul Desette

Worth to remember:

  • Learning design is close to creating environments that enable creativity and innovation.
  • Learning venues are changing. Professionals will need to decide in a complex and changing environment, with simple and repetitive procedures being entrusted to machines.
  • Learning is therefore less about procedural knowledge conditioning and more about bringing people together to solve problems that are out of the ordinary. Intuition is therefore harnessed. It is more a matter of learner-explorer thinking outside the box.
Cegos Asia Pacific. Beyond Knowledge. 2018


Sandy Hernandez, Client Solutions Director, Cegos Asia Pacific