One of my earliest connections online was Jay Cross, whose book Informal Learning (2006) and whose blog, The Internet Time Blog were both among the most influential reads for me when I was just starting to figure out that this isn’t about the tools as much as it is about the learning. I met Jay once, at the first EduBloggerCon held in San Francisco in 2003, and I remember being struck by how smart and energetic and happy he was in person. Sadly, Jay passed away suddenly a few days ago. He will be missed.
Ironically, I just bought his newest book on Friday. And I think the first few paragraphs do a great job of summarizing Jay’s beliefs about learning:
This book and related site will show you how to use your brain to work smarter, learn faster, and develop into the person you aspire to be. It all boils down to learning, but not the sort of learning you experienced at school. No, Real Learning is a life skill. This is experiential learning.
You are learning all the time, taking in new information and making sense of it. You learn by doing, through conversations, and from the school of hard knocks. You, rather than a teacher or institution, are in charge of the process.
Learning is not something that happens to you at events or in courses. It is something that you own and experience continuously, with other people, in your life, and your work.
Learning is how you solve problems, grow professionally, and achieve your goals. You are already learning continuously, but chances are that you could be much more effective at it. This book will explore techniques to help you become a better lifelong learner.
I’m looking forward to reading it, especially now knowing that it represents the last of many great contributions Jay made to both my learning life and that of countless others.