Jay Cross died yesterday in Perigord, France, where he was attending the annual truffle festival.
Jay always marched to a different drummer. During a fifty-year career in adult learning, he railed against traditional instruction, saying it demeaned learners and treated them as children. A believer in experiential learning, he authored four books, including the influential Informal Learning. He was the first person to use the term eLearning on the web. He developed the first business curriculum for what became the University of Phoenix, the world’s largest business school.
Born in Hope, Arkansas, during World War II, he came a permanent Californian in 1976. Proud to be a San Franciscan, he led walking tours of the Financial District and wrote a guide to the City’s restaurants. He and his wife Uta settled in the hills of Berkeley with their two miniature longhaired dachshunds.
In 2015, Jay launched a project to share the findings of brain scientists, neurologists, and psychologists about how people learn and grow with knowledge workers, many of whom were instructed to take advantage of their own learning but were given no instructions. The project was a labor of love, Jay’s attempt to pay back a world that had treated him well and make his dent in the universe.
Over the course of twenty years, he helped over a million bankers learn to make sound decisions and develop new business. When the web arrived, he envisioned its role in accelerating learning and left banking to become a champion of eLearning. He continued to focus on innovations in learning for the next 15 years.