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Informal Learning: Rediscovering the Natural Pathways That Inspire Innovation and Performance [Paperback]

by Jay Cross
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 10, 2006 0787981699 978-0787981693 1
Most learning on the job is informal. This book offers advice on how to support, nurture, and leverage informal learning and helps trainers to go beyond their typical classes and programs in order to widen and deepen heir reach. The author reminds us that we live in a new, radically different, constantly changing, and often distracting workplace. He guides us through the plethora of digital learning tools that workers are now accessing through their computers, PDAs, and cell phones.

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Informal Learning: Rediscovering the Natural Pathways That Inspire Innovation and Performance + The NTL Handbook of Organization Development and Change: Principles, Practices, and Perspectives + The New Knowledge Management (KMCI Press)
Price for all three: $163.30

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"I was an unlikely candidate to buy into Jay Cross's theory that formal learning is largely ineffective. But my curiosity got the better of me, and I found myself totally engrossed in his out-of-the-ordinary thinking on learning." (T+D Magazine, February 2007)

Review

"The key to the twenty-first century will be in learning how to leverage informal learning for us all. Jay provides us with an evocative road map to how we can do this."
—John Seely Brown, coauthor, Social Life of Information, and former chief scientist, Xerox Corp.

"Informal learning is the perfect theme for exploring the next wave of our field. Jay Cross continues to push our thinking on the transformational forces of knowledge, learning, and performance. A must read!"
—Elliott Masie, founder, The MASIE Center's Learning CONSORTIUM

"In an outsourced, automated age, informal learning has become the key to high performance and personal fulfillment. And now Jay Cross has written the very best primer on this woefully neglected topic. This is a book for both sides of your brain!"
—Daniel H. Pink, author, A Whole New Mind

"Jay Cross provides an important challenge for us all—to move our focus from the classroom to the workplace, and in doing so, reframe what we do in ways that much more closely reflect how people actually learn and perform on the job. Informal Learning has profound implications for how we—from trainers to chief learning officers and from frontline business managers to executives—must rethink our ideas and practices, not in some distant future, but right now."
—Marc J. Rosenberg, management consultant, and author, Beyond E-Learning

"This book shows how informal learning experiences connect us with information, help us share ideas, and obtain new perspectives, and even help us create new knowledge together."
—Ellen Wagner, director, Worldwide eLearning, Adobe Systems

"The one sentence from this book that hit me like a train: 'Most corporations invest their training budget where it will have the least impact.' Wow. In an era of demanding ROI, shrinking budgets, and the insistence to do more with less, think of the impact that informal learning could have if it could truly focus learning and efforts for maximum impact."
—Mark Oehlert, learning strategy architect, Booz Allen Hamilton


Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Pfeiffer; 1 edition (November 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787981699
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787981693
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #596,871 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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).

Thousands of people read his blogs, Internet Time and Informal Learning Blog.

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended March 26, 2007
Format:Paperback
Jay Cross has written an invaluable book here for many reasons.

It can be hard to face up to, but the medieval basis of our education is suddenly and starkly out of touch with the needs of a post-network society. After reading this book, it's hard not to face up to that fact, because we now have a compelling, if nascent, alternative. The web enables a wholly different, but infinitely more effective approach to learning - through self-direction, and peer collaboration, motivated by individual choice, for example. As Jay points out, given the complexity and pace of change of 21st century life, we simply must change. (I have an 8 year -old daughter in school and it pains me to see what she's going through when it will all become obsolete in just a few years.) He outlines a kind of proto-pedagogical alternative, taking 'natural' learning as its starting point. He blends online/offline ideas with ideas from design, motivational psychology, etc, but is careful not to lose sight of learning objectives.

As an educator/trainer of over 20 years myself, I believe the book succeeds. Jay isn't a tremendous stylist, nor are his ideas wildly original, but he does exactly what is needed. He makes the case for alternative approaches to learning in a clear and simple way with plenty of diagrams, and examples. Although his focus is on corporate training, rather than traditional education, the implications reverberate. He brings years of training experience, together with an optimistic outlook to practice what he preaches. Having read his blog o ver the course of severalk months it has left it's makr on my own

The book is almost a metaphor for the kinds of challenge we face: hard to pin down, constantly changing, yet sometimes so obvious that we fail to see the significance.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 Things I Like About This Book December 16, 2006
Format:Paperback
First, a bit of context: I'm a seasoned (30+ years) practitioner in the field of leadership development, organizational learning, design and change. I've come to see that the work of transforming our organizations to new levels of consciousness, effectiveness and sustainability rests on our skill as practitioners and leaders in achieving a breakthrough an organization's capacity to learn how to learn--to be responsive to ever-increasing challenges and ever-increasing rates of change.

I've long been aware of the high cost and relative ineffectiveness of conventional "butts-in-seats" approaches to individual and organizational learning. The accelerating emergence of relevant learning strategies, methods, technologies and tools over the past decade has been encouraging--necessary but not sufficient. Jay Cross' wonderfully crafted Informal Learning constitutes a major breakthrough for all who care about transforming the organizations they serve.

10 THINGS I LIKE ABOUT THIS BOOK --

1. It does a magnificent job of explaining how we actually learn. It turns much "conventional wisdom" on its head. It provides us a cornucopia of innovative ideas for how to stimulate a culture of learning and innovation throughout an organization.

2. It's clear, clean and creatively written/formatted. I was pulled into and through the book by Jay's open, straight-talking, conversational style. His use of a variety of illustrations and juicy sidebar tidbits kept luring me to go just a bit further. The accessibility of information is superb.

3. It's alive. It's up-to-the minute and it anticipates a future where organizations are becoming increasingly alive and conscious because they've mastered the art of encouraging and nurturing informal learning.

4.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Revamping your Learning Strategy April 19, 2009
Format:Paperback
If you are ready to give your T&D function a face lift and infuse a culture of Learning that is not tied to classroom instruction, then grab this book. Jay Cross challenges you to think outside the box and points to the Push vs. Pull Learning approaches. Some of the thoughts are applicable on the spot, yet the majority requires a change management for smooth implementation. I have used some of the techniques and started to reap the benefits.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Weak references! Poor poor research! April 14, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
The entire book is built around the 80/20 rule, but Cross never bothered to do his own research about the 80/20 rule; nearly all of his references are indirect.

For example, Cross references Marcia Conner, who references work done in the EDC in the 90s (a paper I cannot find anywhere!). When Cross references her again (using only her first name this time--Marcia ...), she in turn is referencing the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS). The BLS paper that Conner and Cross (indirectly) cited is not research; it is a literature review written sixteen years ago,based on work done in a pre-digital age when you had to remember facts, one as early as the 70s. The lit review was of four studies of self-report surveys, where NO ONE came up with an 80/20 ratio. To top it off, Cross then references Dobbs, who, like Marcia Conner earlier, again referenced the EDC (which I believe no longer exists, dead website, anyway). Jay Cross likes to say, "study after study", but, this is just one study.He is using the same (ghost) information twice, as if they are two separate pieces that confirm the other.

There are many more instances of weak references, but this one is my favorite :).Cross cites Vader (1998) for research on informal learning. I wonder if she knows about this? Vader actually wrote a review-- of a review --of a review --about research done in Canada. Vaders' writing was a blogpost on a blog for parents who homeschool their children.

I could go out and read blogs all day too, they are free, and some are exceptional. What I expect when I buy a book,however, is reliability, professionalism, and expertise. Opinions are fine, but please back them up with credible, well-researched references!

The sad part for me is that I agree with most of what "Jay" posits, I just wish he didn't falsely position himself as an expert.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the most important reads of my professional life
This was the equivalent of reading The World is Flat for the first time. How we learn has been changed by technology and connectivity. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Nathan
4.0 out of 5 stars An informal guide to informal learning
Do people learn best by sitting in a classroom taking notes? Not according to "eLearning" expert Jay Cross. Read more
Published on September 20, 2010 by Rolf Dobelli
1.0 out of 5 stars Waste of time
I am sorry to say that you will learn nothing here you didn't know after the 5th grade. In all fairness I write formal courseware so perhaps I am prejudiced. Read more
Published on June 8, 2009 by Ron Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars The Power and Value of "A Natural Way of Learning"
As is frequently the situation, I read this book in combination with another, Return on Learning, in which Donald Vanthournout and his associates on Accenture's Capability... Read more
Published on March 4, 2008 by Robert Morris
5.0 out of 5 stars Seeing the "Educational Economy" More Clearly
The value and ubiquity of informal learning is presented clearly and passionately by e-learning champion Jay Cross in this book. Read more
Published on March 3, 2008 by Alex Kaufman
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and visionary
I've read articles by Jay Cross for years, and was pleased to get his book on the seminal topic of Informal Learning. Read more
Published on October 25, 2007 by Jonathan Vinoskey
5.0 out of 5 stars Cycling to knowledge
Formal learning is like riding a bus, it goes, starts and stops when & where someone else decides (bus driver and urban transport committee) - informal learning is then like riding... Read more
Published on January 2, 2007 by Denham Grey
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