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MetaLearn

MetaLearn helps you learn anything...fast. Whether you’re building a business, learning a language or picking up a sport, you’ll learn the principles and techniques needed to succeed, as well as gaining insights from the thought leaders driving the global learning revolution.
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Jan 3, 2017

In this short episode I review what I learned in 2016, sharing my successes and failures in everything from the process of starting a podcast, to holding discussion groups as a university lecturer and pursuing my own language learning projects.

In ancient Roman myth, Janus was the god of transitions. The early part of January, named after Janus, was traditionally seen as a time for reflection on the year gone by and planning the year ahead - a process of looking forwards with one head and backwards with the other to determine action in the present.

For me, this last year was a significant one and in this episode I condense the most important lessons I’ve learned into 5 main areas, sharing my successes and failures with you along the way.

Some of the themes related to what I learned in 2016 include:

- Discussion and dialogue as learning tools
- The power of community for learning anything
- Knowing when to give up on a learning project

So whether you're looking to learn better in teams, manage your learning projects more effectively or find out what I've learned from teaching at a university this past year, this episode will give you all that and more.

Dec 27, 2016

Ellen Jovin is a polyglot, writer and the founder of Syntaxis, a communication skills training firm based in New York.

In 2009, she started a project to learn as much as she could of the languages spoken in New York in a year. But once she started, she never stopped - her schedule has included 21 different languages involving a total of nine different alphabets and writing systems - and she’s still going strong with no end in sight.

Ellen’s an accomplished polyglot and an excellent communicator as I found out when we met at the Polyglot Conference in Thessaloniki, where she gave a fantastic talk on language learning products.

In this episode we discuss a range of topics including:

- What it means to know a language and Ellen’s definition of fluency
- The method Ellen uses to learn languages and how this can be used by others
- The challenges Ellen has faced learning languages and how she overcame them

Whatever language you’re learning and whatever stage you’re at, you’ll benefit from Ellen’s insights and leave this episode with mindsets and skillsets that you can take away and start using straight away.

Dec 20, 2016

Shane Parrish is the founder of Farnam Street, an online intellectual hub that covers topics like human misjudgment, strategy, and philosophy to help readers make better decisions.

We all make decisions every day which ultimately affect the results we get in our lives. But so few of us ever stop to think critically about the process we use for making those decisions, let alone try to improve it.

Shane has spent years thinking and writing about decision making, drawing on multiple disciplines and interviewing thought leaders in the field. Add to this his experience as an investor and he's perfectly placed to offer valuable advice that can help you make better decisions in your life.

In this episode we discuss a variety of interesting topics including:

- Shane’s process for making decisions and how it’s evolved over time
- What Shane has learned from his heroes Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger
- The importance of multidisciplinary thinking and learning in a complex world

So whether you're looking to make an important career decision or want to decide whether you should buy shares in that company you've been following, this episode will give you the actionable strategies needed to make that process more structured and increase the chances of a positive outcome.

Dec 13, 2016

Michael Levi Harris is an actor, filmmaker and polyglot who runs the accent coaching business My Accent Guy. Michael trained at the Guildhall School in London as an actor and has since been involved in a number of theatre productions. He also wrote and starred in the short film 'The Hyperglot'.

Actors are masters of using body language and non-verbal communication to develop characters and connect with an audience. But these techniques have many applications across disciplines from language learning to public speaking.

Michael gave one of the most entertaining talks at the Polyglot Conference on how to apply acting techniques to language learning, so I reached out to find out what other areas these techniques could be applied to.

In this episode we discuss a range of interesting topics including:

- Whether personality is innate or constructed and how acting affects this
- Michael’s method for language learning and accent development
- Insights gained from screenwriting and acting in films and plays

So whether you're looking to improve your non verbal communication for a presentation at work, upgrade your accent or find out more about the world of film and theatre, this episode will give you all that and much more.

Dec 6, 2016

Paddy Milner is a musician and songwriter who’s widely recognised as one of the leading blues piano players in the world.

He’s currently the piano player of choice for Sir Tom Jones, following several years with the late great Jack Bruce and his current group Londonola plays homegrown British music with a strong dose of New Orleans spirit.

On top of being an exceptional musician, Paddy is also a great teacher and has produced several blues piano courses for different levels. This makes him the perfect man to outline the process of learning and mastering an instrument.

In this episode we discuss a range of interesting topics including:

- Paddy’s creative process and where he draws inspiration from
- The key habits needed to pick up and master a musical instrument
- Paddy’s experience of working with the likes of Jack Bruce and Tom Jones

So whether you're looking to pick up a new instrument or take your current one to the next level this episode will give you all the inspiration you need and actionable strategies you can start applying straight away.

Nov 29, 2016

The human brain is a remarkable tool but so few of us actually know how to use it properly. Advances in neuroscience and cognitive psychology mean that we now know more about the brain than at any point in history, so there's a whole host of knowledge out there that can help us understand and use our brains better.

This episode will introduce you to the weird and wonderful world of the brain, showing you how to understand your own one better and how to apply some of the major insights from neuroscience and cognitive psychology to improve your learning and life.

Plus I answer some of your questions including:

- What are the major differences between the right and left sides of the brain
- How can we apply knowledge about the brain to improve learning and memory?
- How important are brain genetics in determining intelligence?

So whether you're looking to for an instruction manual to help you use your brain better, or want understand the difference between the left and right hemispheres or the role of genetics in intelligence this episode has you covered.

Nov 22, 2016

Luca Lampariello is a polyglot and language teacher who runs his own language learning company LinguaCore and the highly popular blog The Polyglot Dream. Luca speaks 13 languages and is currently fluent in 10 of them but he’s always adding more to his repertoire.

One of the main reasons I love learning languages is because speaking them is an amazing way to connect to other people and cultures and Luca is big proponent of this as well. To put it simply, he's my kind of polyglot!

In this episode we discuss a range of topics, including:

- What it means to know a language and Luca’s definition of fluency
- The method Luca uses to learn languages and how this can be adapted by others
- The challenges Luca faced in language learning and how he’s overcome them

Whatever language you’re learning and whatever stage you’re at, you’ll benefit massively from Luca’s insights and leave this episode with mindsets and skillsets that you can take away and start using in your own learning straight away.

Nov 15, 2016

Language learning seems far more complicated than it is. Ultimately it's a skill that can be broken down into three sub skills - grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation - which you'll need to develop to get to a good level of proficiency.

But one of the things that's rarely discussed is the importance of community for language learning. This is something I've experienced on my language learning journey and my time at the Polyglot Conference in Greece.

In this episode I’ll teach you how to become a better language learner, offering a series of tools and techniques that you can apply to any language to develop the skills of grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation.

Plus I answer some of your questions including:

- Can you learn two languages at once and what’s the best method to do this?
- How do you maintain languages that you already know?
- How important is a total immersion experience for language learning?

So whether you're looking to pick up a new language, maintain ones you already know or refresh and old one you've forgotten, this episode has you covered with practical strategies and techniques you can apply straight away.

Nov 8, 2016

Mariana Marquez and Emma Zangs are two public speaking coaches and choreographers, who teach people to speak better and improve their body language through their company MetaSpeech.

One of the things that gives the most bang for the buck in public speaking is good body language, but it's something people often ignore and fail to improve.

As choreographers and movement directors Mariana and Emma bring a fresh perspective to the world of public speaking and they’ve successfully coached clients securing funding, pitching on TV shows and speaking at conferences.

In this episode we discuss a range of topics including:

- The most common non-verbal communication mistakes and how to avoid them
- How to tap into the mind-body connection
- The importance of thinking with the body and movement in schools

So whether you're looking to improve your body language for an upcoming presentation at work or understand the relationship between your mind and body better, this episode has you covered.

Nov 1, 2016

Julian Treasure is a communications expert, acclaimed TED Speaker and the founder of The Sound Agency, a consultancy that helps businesses improve their results by becoming more conscious about their sound.

Studies have shown that we spend 60% of our communication time listening but the average person can only remember 10% of that 3 days later. And every one of us needs to learn how to listen better, especially in a world full of noise.

As an expert on sound and listening Julian is perfectly placed to advise on this and his 5 TED talks on listening, speaking and communication have been viewed an estimated 40 million times, with one in the top 20 of all time.

In this episode we discuss a range of topics including:

- How we can use sound to positively influence our learning and life
- The 5 simple tools that people can apply right now to listen better
- The tips we can learn from great speakers to improve our communication skills

So whether you're looking to improve your listening or speaking skills, or use
sound more consciously in your learning life, this episode has you covered with actionable strategies you can apply right away.

Oct 25, 2016

Richard Nisbett is the Theodore Newcomb Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Michigan and has written 3 great books for a lay audience on mental models, the nature of intelligence and how thinking differs across cultures.

Understanding the patterns behind our thought processes is a crucial part of developing self awareness and improving as learners, as we're often subject to cognitive biases that take us down the wrong path.

Richard has spent decades researching thinking across contexts and cultures, which is why I was so keen to reach out to have a discussion on the subject.

In this episode we discuss a range of topics including:

- How to become aware of the mental models that drive behaviour and decisions
- The differences between Eastern and Western thought
- The way we view intelligence and the state of the nature vs. nurture debate

So whether you're looking to become aware of your own thought processes, understand the main cultural differences between Asians and Westerners or gain insight into the nature vs nurture debate, this episode has you covered.

Oct 18, 2016

The future of learning will be determined by a number of key issues - from the impact of technology and the rise of EdTech, to the evolution of the educational system and the need for lifelong learning in personal and professional contexts.

In this episode I explore all of these issues in depth and answer the question I always ask guests at the end of my podcast interviews - "What's your vision for the future of learning?"

Plus I answer your questions including:

- Is there a way to increase the likelihood of people completing online courses?
- What are the differences between digital and in person learning experiences?
- How do we integrate learning into our lives effectively?

So if you want to know what can do to put yourself at the cutting edge of learning, this podcast will give you an insider's perspective of the major trends and actionable insights you can apply to your life.

Oct 12, 2016

Jordan Poulton is the co-founder of Makers Academy, London's leading Web Developer Bootcamp which teaches you how to code in just 12 Weeks. He is a former president of Oxford Entrepreneurs and previously appeared on the BBC’s hit show The Apprentice in 2013.

Coding is arguably the skill with the fastest growing demand in the modern economy and more people are looking to acquire the skill every year. But coding is a challenging skill to learn and people are often unsure where to start.

Jordan went through the first Makers Academy cohort and by the end of the process, he was asked to join the Makers Team as a Co-Founder. As a result, he's got both a student's and an educator's perspective on the topic, which makes him uniquely placed to give advice on the subject.

In this episode we discuss a range of topics including:

- The fundamental skills and mental models a good programmer needs to develop
- The blend of theory and practice that’s best for learning entrepreneurship
- The changing educational landscape of the 21st century

So whether you're learning to code, building a business or curious about the way technology is shaping education, this episode will give you all that and more.

Oct 4, 2016

Ed Cooke is the founder of Memrise, an online platform that uses memory techniques to optimise learning. Ed has also previously competed in memory sports and became a Grand Master of Memory when he was just 23.

Human memory is something that few people understand well but the secrets behind improving it are both simple and fun.

Ed is someone who has applied these techniques to himself and his business Memire and even coached US journalist Josh Foer to win the US memory championships, which makes him the perfect man to explain them.

In this episode we discuss a range of topics including:

- Practical applications of memory techniques that people can use everyday
- How much we actually know about memory and the mind
- The role of technology in learning and the future of ed tech

So whether you're looking to improve your memory to remember vast amounts of information or understand the limits of your mind, this episode will give you all that and much more.

Sep 27, 2016

Tom Chatfield is a author and speaker who’s written several books about the digital age. He’s also worked with several companies as a consultant including Google and Mind Candy and spoken at forums including TED Global.

We all need to think more critically about how we interact with digital technology, because the secret to living and learning well with it is not related to which devices we use, but to how we use them.

Tom has spoken and written about the use of technology in a number of different areas so I reached out to him to get a critical perspective on the use of technology in learning and life.

In this episode we discuss a range of topics including:

- The advantages and disadvantages of the different types of media
- How to choose what methods to use when learning something online
- How to build unwired states in your day to increase focus

So whether you're looking to make more of your time online, find the best resources for what you're learning or spend more time disconnected, this episode will offer you actionable strategies you can implement right away.

Sep 20, 2016

Not everyone can go down as a master orator like Lincoln, King or Churchill, but we can all learn to become better speakers. And in an age where ideas are the main currency, being able to communicate them effectively is a huge advantage.

Plus, we spend 30% of our communication time speaking, whether it’s in a presentation at work or a conversation with a friend – so it’s definitely a skill worth working on.

In this episode, I break down the strategies of some of the greatest speakers, both ancient and modern and how we can apply them in different situations from public speeches to presentations at work.

Plus I answer some of your questions including:

- What are the elements that a good speech should include?
- What are your tips for improving body language and the use of gestures?
- How do you deal with the fear of public speaking and does it ever go away?

So whether you're looking to give better presentations at work, prepare for a TedX talk or just get your point across better in a discussion, this episode is packed full of actionable tools and techniques you can use immediately.

Sep 13, 2016

Rob Fitzpatrick is a serial entrepreneur who teaches early-stage entrepreneurship in Europe via his company Founder Centric. Rob is a Y Combinator alum and is the author of The Mom Test, a handbook on customer development that teaches you how to learn from customers even when they’re lying to you.

One of the most crucial parts of building a successful business is developing a rounded skillset that allows you to build products that solve problems and forge relationships with customers and partners to sell those solutions effectively.

Rob teaches people to do this and is great at awesome at distilling his entrepreneurial experience into practical advice. He's also taught at Oxford and UCL as well as designing education programs for accelerators and the UN, so if you want someone to teach you entrepreneurship you can’t get much better.

In this episode we discuss a real whirlwind of topics including:

- The core skills and mental models every entrepreneur needs to learn
- How to talk to customers effectively and get the results you want
- Rob’s own approach to learning new skills from chess to programming to repairing sailing boats and reading up on diesel engines.

So whether you're starting out as an entrepreneur and are looking to build a new business or learn from the customers you already have in an existing one, this episode will give you that and much more.

Sep 6, 2016

Studies on listening have show that we spend 60% of our communication time listening and that the average person can only remember 10% of that 3 days later.

For a skill that we need to use so often and neglect so heavily, you’d think that listening was pretty useless. But this couldn’t be further from the truth because every one of us needs to learn how to become a better listener.

In this episode, I show you how to become a better listener by offering a series of practical tools and techniques for improving your skills in different situations.

Plus, I answer some of your questions including:

- What are the main blocks to listening and how can you overcome them?
- How do you can digest what you’re hearing without preparing your 'answer'?
- What are the things I should do to listen better on the phone?

So whether you're looking to improve your listening skills to communicate better with your boss at work or to retain more of the podcast episodes you're listening to, this episode has you covered with practical strategies.

Aug 30, 2016

Scott Young is a lifelong learner and online entrepreneur who runs the business ScottHYoung.com where he tries to answer the question: “What’s the best way to learn?” through free articles, and a series of books and courses.

In a world of limitless access to information, it's become possible for all of us to direct our own learning like never before. And Scott is a great example of someone doing this - taking on ambitious ultra learning projects which include:

The MIT Challenge, where he successfully learned MIT’s 4-year computer science curriculum in a year without taking classes
The Year Without English, where he travelled the world with a friend to learn four languages in a year – Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin and Korean.

In this episode we discuss a wide range of topics including:

- The core skills and habits someone needs to become a self directed learner
- The advantages/disadvantages of the different forms of media for learning like blogs vs books and podcasts vs videos
- The principles that cognitive science has proven help people learn faster

So whether you're building a business, learning a language or learning to code, this episode will give you the tools and techniques needed to direct your own ultralearning project.

Aug 23, 2016

While it may be difficult to put your finger on that special something that geniuses like Tolstoy or Shakespeare had, being able to communicate well in writing is a skill that can be learned like any other.

If we deconstruct the art of writing, its three main components are research, storytelling and the organisation of ideas. So if you can develop these skills by putting in consistent deliberate practice, you’re going to become a better writer.

In this episode I show you how to become a better writer by presenting the tools and techniques needed to improve rapidly.

Plus I answer your questions including:

- What tips have you got for getting over writer's block?
- How do you develop your own unique style as a writer?
- What are the principles that everyone should apply to become a better writer?

So whether you're looking to improve your written communication at work, or improve your writing skills for a blog you're starting this episode will give you actionable strategies you can apply straight away.

Aug 16, 2016

John-Paul is an entrepreneur and best-selling author with a mission to spread awareness of better communication. A former associate editor at The Financial Times, he has worked with people at the top of government, business and the creative arts, and some of the world's leading companies.

Asking questions is an essential skill that few of us ever learn how to do properly - but it's of vital importance in all areas of our life because asking the right question at the right time can make all the difference.

JP has spent a large portion of his career asking questions as a journalist and has since helped thousands of people improve their communication skills so I reached out to him for chat to discuss these ideas in depth.

In this episode we discuss a wide range of topics including:

- The key to asking insightful questions
- Understanding how to have better conversations
- How to think about and deal with failure

So whether you're looking to ask better questions, deal with making mistakes or just have more great conversations, this episode will give you all that and much more.

Aug 9, 2016

There’s a feeling nowadays that reading isn’t as important as it used to be – we have many other ways to get information including television and the internet. While all of these are useful in the right context, they can't replace reading fully.

In the US only 40% of people who graduate college ever read a book again. But it’s been well documented that most successful and intelligent people across fields from business, science and the arts are voracious readers.

In this episode I show you how to how to choose your books and the tools and techniques that will help you read better.

Plus I answer some of your questions including:

- Does speed reading actually work?
- Do you take notes while you read and what method do you use?
- How do I remember and apply more of what I read?

So whether you're looking to read faster, more widely or remember more of what you read, this episode has you covered with actionable strategies you can start using to take your reading to the next level today.

Aug 2, 2016

Mads Holmen is the CEO of Bibblio, a platform helping knowledge publishers deliver smarter content recommendation. Bibblio’s clients include the University of Cambridge and Oxford University Press as well as the BBC and YouTube.

It's been well documented that the educational system in the West has problems, but if you want to improve a system you need to look at the ways people think and interact with each other before changing the rules - and that's what educational philosophy is all about.

Mads is someone who has integrated ideas from educational philosophy into his business Bibblio and he’s often invited to speak about them on panels about learning and ed-tech. After seeing him at a talk in London, I reached out to him for a chat about some of the big issues in the field of learning and intelligence.

In this episode we discuss a wide range of topics including:

- How to think about learning and education
- Whether there’s an ideal curriculum for the 21st Century
- The nature of intelligence by drawing insights from the nature vs nurture debate

So whether you're looking to deepen your understanding of the ideas driving our educational system or find out how to navigate the endless stream of content online, this episode has you covered.

Jul 26, 2016

What if one of the most powerful tools for igniting change in the world was something that’s been available to us since childhood?

Questioning - deeply, imaginatively and critically – can spark unique insights and unleash our innate creativity. It can help us see the world through fresh eyes and notice things others don’t. And it can inspire us to take focused actions that improve the quality of our lives.

Most creative and successful people in all fields from science to business recognise the importance of asking incisive questions because they can lead to such powerful insights.

In this episode I discuss a number of topics related to questions including:

- What’s the difference between a good question and a bad one?
- The best frameworks you use to ask better questions
- The questions you should be asking yourself to prove the validity of your ideas

So whether you're looking to leverage the power of questioning in learning, business or life this episode has you covered.

Jul 19, 2016

Vincent Dignan is an entrepreneur and growth hacker who helps early-stage companies acquire users. Through his company Magnific he’s driven thousands of followers, conversations, and signups for startups using a combination of social media growth and guerrilla community management tactics.

On top of this he’s a great public speaker regularly giving talks around the world on marketing and growth hacking and he recently completed a 45-date speaking tour of the US, speaking in 13 different cities.

In this episode we discuss a range of topics including:

- Vince’s tips that will help you market your content and grow your business
- The habits that will help you pick up skills and get more done with less
- How to give a memorable public speech and get people interested in the event

We also discuss Vince’s favourite books for entrepreneurs and his thoughts on the feedback loop between teaching and learning.

Whether you’re looking to grow your business and acquire users, become a better speaker or just get more done in less time, you’ll leave this podcast with plenty of actionable strategies you can apply.

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