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The Learning Process Built For Profit

Written on Jan 17, 2017 11:05:26 AM, by Ilie Ghiciuc

When companies invest in training they not only want their employees to learn more and gain new skills but they want those new skills to translate into profits.

But for most companies, only 10 to 20% of learning translates into higher profits. That is where the learning process comes in. To increase the percentage of learning that makes it back to the workplace and to increase the ROI of training sessions.

Also read: Organizational Learning and How It Leads to Success

Learning Processes

There are two learning processes that have been widely used for years: ADDIE and 70/20/10. While there are advantages to these models, they do have some flaws which do not lead to the ROI and profits that most businesses would like to see.


Many learning programs run on the ADDIE process. This process stands for Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluate. The U.S. Navy's version of ADDIE is called PADDIE+M, which addes a planning phase and a maintenance phase to the framework. 

Analysis – During the first phase, objectives are created with the learner skill levels in mind.
Design – When a course is being created it is important to figure out the content, assessments, exercises, and lesson plans.
Development – All the pieces are put together to create the entire course from start to finish.
Implementation – The course is implemented and learners interact with trainers and the learning material.
Evaluate – After the course is over, learners and managers evaluate progress and effectiveness of the training.

This learning and development process has been in place for many years but the percentage of learning transfer has still been low. With so many innovations and changes in the learning process, there still seems to be something missing.

While the ADDIE model is great for delivering learning, it does very little in regards to delivering change. Using this process allows companies to transfer learning to their employees, but it does not seem to help employees transfer that learning to their jobs.


Similar to the ADDIE Model is the 70/20/10 model. This model for the learning process was developed by Morgan McCall and other leaders at the Center for Creative Leadership.

From surveying about 200 leaders in business and asking them how they learn, they found that the learning process is most successful when 70% of learning comes from on-the-job experiences, 20% of learning comes from relationships and feedback, and 10% of learning comes from courses and training.

Just like the ADDIE model, the 70/20/10 model describes how to organize learning, but it does little to explain whether or not that learning is transferred to the job.

A New Learning Process

In order to increase profits, businesses need to create learning processes that focus on behavior change. Models like ADDIE and 70/20/10 tend to focus more on how much employees learn, rather than how much they are changing. They are focused more on learning goals and evaluation instead of performance goal and evaluation.

Without focusing on performance, companies have no strategy for learning transfer. There is no learning transfer in the learning process.

To increase profits, companies need to shape ADDIE or 70/20/10 so that they incorporate and measure aspects of learning transfer. For some companies, that may mean increasing the role of the learning and development team.

Instead of just stopping at the end of a learning program, the learning and development team should continue to work with employees in order to create more opportunities for learning transfer. 

Learning Transfer

The incorporation of learning transfer into the process can be done in three stages: before, during, and after learning.

Before Learning
In order to increase learning transfer, employers need to know their employees, analyze their training needs and create a purpose for the training. They also need to match that training with business goals and job tasks and find the best delivery methods.

During Learning
During the training period, organizations need to chunk content and state the purpose of the training. It's important to create connections to prior knowledge and make information relevant by connecting content to job roles. Keep goals in mind, divide information into modules, and create action plans.

After Learning
After the training is over, employers need to provide social opportunities to share learning. Providing refresher sessions and creating follow-up meetings are good case practices for this stage of learning. It's also important at this point to provide employee with opportunities for practice.

Many of these elements may seem similar to stages in the ADDIE learning and development process, but there are also some additions that are important.

The before and during learning practices match what good learning programs that use the ADDIE model have. The after learning steps is how things change. Programs need to have more follow-up in order to increase the rate of learning transfer. These follow-up practices could help employees continue to practice the skills until they become new habits, remember steps or pieces of information they may have forgotten, and consolidate through group discussions.

Also read: 4 Ways to Ensure Learning Transfer

In order to increase profits, ADDIE needs to become ADDIEF: Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, Evaluate, and Follow-up.

Learning, in general, is a great way to increase the culture and productivity of a company. It is often necessary seeing as the world and technology change so quickly.

But for many companies, the increase in profits they expect does not actually occur. The reason could be learning transfer and the lack of follow-up in the learning process. Creating business practices that encourage learning after the training course is over could be the next step to capturing a better ROI.  

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Ilie Ghiciuc
I've been an entrepreneur for the past 10+ years building great software companies together with fantastic teams. I like to spend most of my free time reading :)