Monday, July 23, 2012

Google’s 80–20 Rule for Educators and Teaching!

Google’s 80–20 Rule for Educators, Students and Teaching!

“GOOGLE engineers are encouraged to take 20 percent of their time to work on something company-related that interests them personally. This means that if you have a great idea, you always have time to run with it.” New York Times

Imagine giving students 20% of their instructional day to whatever fascinates them personally; will they build a passion for learning? Google uses the 80/20 rule for building loyalty, creating a culture of innovation, cultivating ideas, and acknowledging the creativity and productivity of working on self guided passions.

The 80/20 Rule can be used as the foundation of a flipped classroom, front loaded instruction 20%, and student work/collaboration 80%.

Food For Thought

The Pareto principle or 80–20 rule
  • 80% of students success comes from 20% of instruction and studying
  • 80% of students academic knowledge comes from 20% of the time spent on academic learning
  • 80% of lessons are unproductive (meeting the needs of all students) 20% of lessons are productive
  • 80% of students need differentiation (pacing, higher or lower level) 20% of students are on instructional level
  • 80% of classroom behavior problems come from 20% of students (academic and social and emotional)
Wiki Article
The Pareto principle (also known as the 80–20 rule, the law of the vital few, and the principle of factor sparsity) states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.
Business-management consultant Joseph M. Juran suggested the principle and named it after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who observed in 1906 that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population; he developed the principle by observing that 20% of the pea pods in his garden contained 80% of the peas.[2]
It is a common rule of thumb in business; e.g., "80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients". Mathematically, where something is shared among a sufficiently large set of participants, there must be a number k between 50 and 100 such that "k% is taken by (100 − k)% of the participants". The number k may vary from 50 (in the case of equal distribution, i.e. 100% of the population have equal shares) to nearly 100 (when a tiny number of participants account for almost all of the resource). There is nothing special about the number 80% mathematically, but many real systems have k somewhere around this region of intermediate imbalance in distribution.[3]
The Pareto principle is only tangentially related to Pareto efficiency, which was also introduced by the same economist. Pareto developed both concepts in the context of the distribution of income and wealth among the population Wiki


  1. I have actually used the 80-20 approach in my classroom for the past four years. For one marking period (the length of our environmental unit) students do the normal classwork/activities on Monday through Thursday. Every Friday however, the students work on a project of their choosing within the realm of environmental science. The outcome has been nothing short of amazing. Students are excited about learning during this time. As part of the project, there needs to be some service learning component. I've had students write and read children's books to daycares, present at township meetings, re-design oil tankers to lessen the amount of oil that will spill during an accident etc. It is by far the best thing I have ever done in my classroom. I would love to expand it to another marking period by our curriculum is so full because of standardized testing that unfortunately I don't have time to. If you ever have the chance to do it, I would highly suggest it.

    1. Wow, Thank you so much for sharing your 80-20 success and adding the service learning is so important for kids today. Sean


Thank you!