After a lifetime of innovation and boundary pushing, thought leader Jay Cross died at his home in California on Nov. 6, 2015.
Cross will be remembered for his many achievements. He wrote the book “Informal Learning,” which Clark Quinn, executive director at Quinnovation, describes as a turning point for the learning industry. It opened up opportunities for people to explore new practices and types of development.
“He left a legacy of incisive viewpoints, skewering sacred cows with glee,” Quinn said.
Cross also wrote the Effectiveness column for Chief Learning Officer magazine for nearly a decade. He was a true learning pioneer, said John Taggart, president and co-founder of Human Capital Media, parent company of Chief Learning Officer.
“His early support for Chief Learning Officer magazine and our CLO Symposium helped us to create something truly special,” Taggart said.
Cross’ work on e-learning was also significant. He was constantly thinking about what was new on the horizon and how he could improve old models.
“When most people were still 'perfecting the irrelevant' and trying to squeeze classroom models into the emerging Internet world, Jay was creatively thinking and doing ‘e’,” said Charles Jenning, director of Internet Time Alliance & Duntroon Consultants.
He inspired many and has had a powerful impact on many learning practitioners. His work likely will be used to shape a generation of future disruptive thinkers and business leaders.
“Our industry throws the word “thought leader” or “guru” around way too easily these days,” said Bob Mosher, chief learning evangelist at APPLY Synergies. “Jay Cross was truly both.”
He developed new ideas until the day he died. His most recent project was "Real Learning,” which aims to push people toward do-it-yourself learning. DIY learning is meant to improve a person’s learning capacity in ways that will last a lifetime but that don’t rely on a classroom or instructor.
Cross may have passed on, but his ideas continue to inspire others, and his unique way of thinking will continue to resonate throughout the learning and development community.
“It's the thinking and the endless curiosity behind those terms and his encyclopedic blog posts, video chats, public speeches, and tweets that will be Jay's lasting legacy,” said Mark Oehlert, learning technology manager at Amazon.com Inc. “He showed us that to work in the field of learning and not be curious is unthinkable.”
Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect the correct name of the "Real Learning" project.
Andie Burjek is a Chief Learning Officer editorial intern. Comment below or email editor@CLOmedia.com.