Monday, March 18, 2013

Tuesday Live: Jay Cross on Informal Learning

Join me Tuesday, March 19th, for a live and interactive conversation with Jay Cross on his book Informal Learning: Rediscovering the Natural Pathways That Inspire Innovation and Performance. If you are like me, you are going to love this book, and then you are going to spend hours trying to bridge lessons from its work-world and training focus to students in school.

Take, for example, Jay's "Why is this topic important?" blurb at in the "About This Book" page, where he gives us a clue that he is going to seriously question the effectiveness of formal learning. Think about how it might read and what the implications would be if we substituted student learning for worker learning:
Workers learn more in the coffee room than in the classroom. They discover how to do their jobs through informal learning: talking, observing others, trial and error, and simply working with people in the know. Formal learning--classes and workshops--is the source of only 10 to 20 percent of what people learn at work. Corporations overinvest in formal training programs while neglecting natural, simpler informal processes. This book describes how visualization, impromptu conferences, organizational network analysis, conversation space, and communities of purpose fuel innovation and agility. In short, informal learning is generally more effective and less expensive than its formal counterpart.
Or recast this review of the book by Gloria Gery:
When you look back at your most powerful and deep learning, it's informal. It's in context. It has meaning. And it's guided by realities that rarely get addressed in formal training programs. Accepting this thinking is fundamental to designing learning and performance experiences realistically. Acting on it is necessary for success.
Might we say that these same realities "rarely get addressed" in formal education? I think you will certainly say yes as we talk with Jay.

Date: Tuesday, March 19th, 2013
Time: 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate). Log in at The Blackboard Collaborate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Blackboard Collaborate, please visit the support and configuration page.
Recording:  A full Blackboard Collaborate recording is at and an audio mp3 recording is at and at
Mightybell:  A Mightybell space with interview resources and to continue the conversation is at

Jay Cross is a champion of informal learning, web 2.0, and systems thinking. His calling is to help business people improve their performance on the job and satisfaction in life. He has challenged conventional wisdom about how adults learn since designing the first business degree program offered by the University of Phoenix three decades ago.

Jay has provided advice and guidance to Cisco, Eaton, IBM, Sun, National Australia Bank, Intel, Genentech, Novartis, HP, the CIA, the World Bank, and numerous others. He helps companies build online communities and boost innovation.

Jay served as CEO of eLearning Forum for its first five years and has keynoted such conferences as Online Educa (Berlin), I-KNOW (Austria), Research Innovations in Learning (U.S.), Emerging eLearning (Abu Dhabi), Training (U.S.), Quality in eLearning (Bogota), LearnX (Melbourne), and Learning Technology (London).

Jay is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Business School. He and his wife Uta live with a miniature long-haired dachshund in the hills of Berkeley, California.


  1. Still can't log on to your Elluminate room. Tried reinstalling Java, the support site says things are configured properly, etc. So wave and say "hi" to jay for me!

  2. Anonymous1:14 PM

    Steve: could provide the name of the book you mentioned:_____________ of scholars, or something to that effect.

  3. I don't remember... I'll see if it comes to me. You might check the Mightybell group to see if someone (probably Peggy G!) put a link in the space.

    Can you remember the context of the reference?


I hate having to moderate comments, but have to do so because of spam... :(