Learning and development icon and chief learning architect of Training Magazine Network Ray Jimenez 100 percent lived up to his name—his beaming smile, all-encompassing warmth, and brilliant mind touched the lives of countless L&D professionals, helping them to grow and thrive over the years. Well-known for his trademark bow-tie, unfettered enthusiasm, and never-ending curiosity, he was a Ray of sunshine, a Ray of hope, and a Ray of inspiration to everyone he met.
Sadly, Ray passed away November 30 at the age of 72. He is survived by his mother, Emma; sister, Baby Emma; sons, Miguel, Carlo Antonio, and Albert from a previous marriage; his grandchildren Vino, Natalia, and Sofia; his wife of 34 years, Marisu, and their son, Raymond, and daughter, Francesca.
An L&D Pioneer
Ray started his career as a management consultant for Coopers and Lybrand in the areas of learning technology innovations, information management systems, and management development. He went on to found VignettesLearning.com, an eLearning consulting and systems development company specializing in implementing applications for social learning, rapid eLearning, games, simulation, learning systems, and specific custom projects.
This led to him partner with Training magazine in 2008 to develop and launch social media community TrainingMagNetwork.com, which today boasts 185,000 L&D professional members and hosts more than 100 webinars a year. A sought-after speaker and thought leader, Ray was a long-time facilitator of countless webinars, online certificate programs, conference sessions, and dine around mixers (his table was always full!) for Training magazine. In 2019, Training magazine awarded Ray its “Premier Partner in Innovation” award, which recognizes an individual, group, or company that has partnered with Training in the successful development of a product or service that benefits the overall training profession.
The core of Ray’s expertise was in Workflow Learning Systems, Microlearning Expertise Systems, Story-Based Learning Designs (SBLD), and Contextual Learning Platforms (CLP). He invented the kernel learning design called “SRIA”—Set up, Relate, Interpret, and Apply—which applies to all modalities, including microlearning and mobile learning. Ray also was the founder and champion of the Microlearning Implementation Process and author of “Workflow Learning,” “3-Minute e-Learning,” “Scenario-Based e-Learning,” “Story-Based eLearning Design,” and “Do-It-Yourself eLearning” books.
Always one to embrace change, Ray recently launched www.SituationExpert.com, an AI ChatGPT learning system for continuous self-improvement, critical problem solving, and expertise development. He led teams in implementing AI-assisted performance metrics, talent management planning, and learning design and metrics.
A Shining Light
Genuine, kind, humble, visionary, brilliant, collaborative, and generous, Ray never missed the chance to both share his extraordinary knowledge, experience, and expertise and brainstorm new ideas with others in the L&D space.
Here are just a few of the comments expressed on LinkedIn over the last few days:
- “Ray was such a driving force in the L&D field. I have so many great memories… I was recently telling someone about the class I took with him in Pasadena 15-plus years ago…so impactful, so relevant. I still vividly remember the examples of story-based learning. When I saw him years later in the speaker ready room at the Training Conference, I was star struck…you would have thought I saw a movie star…truly bigger than life…and not to mention countless webinars. I will miss his approachable laugh, and how he was always looking for the next big thing in training. He contributed so much.”
- “Ray was a visionary pioneer who had tremendous impact on many learning and development professionals and helped shape the profession—he made countless contributions. He will always be remembered.”
- “He helped build an incredible community and network of professionals that have helped shape my career.”
- “I’ll miss my friend, my business partner, and inspiration. Just worked his heart out, giving genius and gentleness to us all for the past few decades.”
- “His passion and commitment to learning was reflected in every interaction. He welcomed everyone and was always available to coach or just have a quick chat.”
- “Ray was a positive light and a great influence in my career. Such a joy to be around and so passionate about his work. Loved having one-on-one conversations with him. He would always go out of his way to come say, ‘Hi,’ to me when we were at conferences. He was such a great influence and he will be greatly missed.”
- “Ray’s footprint is definitely all over the L&D community. He was impactful and passionate.”
- “Rest in peace, Ray. I loved your infectious laughter and joy for life.”
- “Such a tragic loss of a beautiful human being and a titan in learning and development. We are all better because of him.”
- “What a loss, but what a legacy. Grateful for everything Ray brought and shared to us all. Truly one-of-a-kind.”
- “What a lovely, kind, and brilliant man. I was humbled to have met him and he was so generous in spirit. That is a legacy we should all aspire to.”
- “Ray was an incredible role model and a gifted, humble, and joyful teacher. I learned so much from him. He was a true guiding light in the training industry.”
- “Ray was a beacon in the industry. He demonstrated, shared, and instilled passion for learning, learners, and those who facilitate it. He has inspired thousands of learning professionals.”
- “Ray was always upbeat, gracious, supportive, and experimenting. He was a positive force in our field.”
- “Ray’s facilitation was so engaging and his points so in sync with this moment in time for trainers. He was an important role model and his contributions will be missed.”
- “I attended his talk at Tech Learn just in September. He was such a Ray of sunshine. He had such passion for teaching and learning.”
- “Ray has given so much to the field of L&D and he will be remembered for his kindness, willingness to share, and the countless training tips and resources I learned from him over the years.”
While we mourn Ray’s passing, we are so grateful we had the chance to know him, work with him, and share in his boundless passion for learning and development. As one colleague noted, “Ray’s spirit will live on forever because his lessons will live on in the outstanding work of others.”
To submit a tribute to Ray or share your memories/stories of him on his online memorial page, visit: https://www.forevermissed.com/ray-jimenez/about