The Cultural Navigator and Adult Learning


Have you ever heard of the 70-20-10 method of learning? It posits that 70 percent of adult learning is done on the job, while 20 percent is done informally, and only 10 percent is done formally.

This method of learning is especially relevant in today’s fast-paced and dynamic business world, when professionals need to keep learning new skills and brushing up on old ones throughout their careers – after all, we cannot apply today the same knowledge and techniques we learned when we were in school.

That means that the bulk of things we learn – 70 percent – we learn on the job, perhaps by feeling our way through a task we are unfamiliar with, or shadowing a colleague who has the skills and knowhow we need. A smaller part of the learning adults do – 20 percent – is informal, for example, conducting Internet research on something we need to learn about. The smallest part – 10 percent – is formal learning, such as taking classes or training sessions.

The Cultural Navigator can play an important role in each of the three types of learning. As for the 70 percent of learning that is done on the job, the Cultural Navigator is designed for “just in time” learning with a user interface optimized for both “before you go” and “on the go” learning. Users can visit the Cultural Navigator on their laptops, tablets and even smart phones. There are also numerous types of printable reports offered on the Cultural Navigator. For example, a professional about to leave for an overseas assignment can check out the International Assignment topic area, which includes learning paths that let the user compile printable lists of things they would like to accomplish while abroad. Users can also visit the Cultural Navigator’s Country Guide section and read extensive and detailed information compiled by a subject matter expert on the country they are about to do business in. They can also do a gap analysis with the country and print it out to take with them and read on the plane.

As far as the 20 percent of adult learning that happens informally, the Cultural Navigator is designed to easily leverage knowledge between peers, and engages the learner in measurable, independent, self-guided learning, as well as assessment debriefs and comparisons. Some examples of the learning avenues possible on the Cultural Navigator are its numerous learning paths, interactive e-learning modules, and gap analyses and group aggregate reports that let users compare their Cultural Orientations Indicator assessment results with other team members, colleagues, and even countries.

And for the 10 percent of learning that happens formally, the Cultural Navigator is designed for the adult learner with eight types of learning activities: articles, assessments, podcasts, learning paths, e-learning modules, quizzes, scenarios and videos.

The Cultural Navigator is an ideal platform to host both pre- and post-work for learners going through on-the-job, informal, and formal learning.

Lynne Tarter​