How much people learn from the 4 D’s of Learning

Last updated: July 20, 2020 at 17:57 pm

Here are the results of the survey which asked how much you learn (at work) from each of the 4 D’s of Learning: Discovery, Doing, Discourse and Didactics

This table below the AVERAGE percentages for each of the 4 D’s of Learning. It also includes a breakdown by age.

% of respondents 3% 19% 29% 34% 15%
age <30 30-39 40-49 50-59 >60
(finding things out for oneself)
39% 32% 32% 34% 41% 49%
DOING (the day job)
(daily work experiences)
29% 35% 34% 32% 28% 20%
(interacting with others)
20% 17% 20% 22% 19% 20%
(being trained or taught)
12% 16% 14% 12% 12% 11%

Here’s a graphic that shows this more clearly.

A few points to be made here:

ONE – Clearly, everyone learns in different ways at different times, but overall there does seem to be a pattern emerging about where learning mostly takes place for the work force, ie it happens mostly from DISCOVERY and DOING, and that in the case of DIDACTICS the youngest employees consider they learn slightly more in this way than older employees (who find DISCOVERY – finding things out for themselves – is how they mostly learn).

TWO – This pattern also aligns very well with the 70:20:10 framework, where

  • 70% of learning comes from daily activities
  • 20% of learning from relationships
  • 10% of learning from training

So (Discovery+Doing)= 68%, Discourse= 20% and Didactics=12%.

The 70:20:10 framework has been criticised for a number of reasons, one of which because it puts a “perfectly even” percentage figure on the different ways of learning, but it has much to guide us. For, as Charles Jennings says

“It’s not about the numbers, it’s all about change”.

THREE – But the more significant point to make is, then, since, relatively, only a small percentage of what people learn comes from DIDACTICS (being trained , why do most L&D’s efforts still focus on this area? How can they better help their people learn and grow? Answer: By supporting them in the ways that bring them most value.  What are they? Find out on the next page.

⇒  The most valued ways of learning at work