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MetaLearn

MetaLearn provides you with the knowledge and skills needed to future proof yourself and thrive in the 21st century. Host Nasos Papadopoulos will guide you through the principles needed learn faster, think smarter and succeed in your career through conversations with the thought leaders driving the global learning revolution.
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Now displaying: 2018
Nov 27, 2018

Azeem Azhar is a strategist, product entrepreneur and analyst, currently working as the Senior Advisor for AI to the CTO of Accenture. He is also the creator of the Exponential View newsletter and podcast, which offer cutting edge insights into technology, business and society.

If you’ve been listening to the show for a while, then you’ll have noticed that technology is a topic I’ve covered extensively – and that’s because I believe understanding tech is an essential part of understanding our modern world and operating effectively in it. Azeem is uniquely positioned to offer insight into the space, given his multidisciplinary background

He founded and sold PeerIndex, a company which applied machine learning to large-scale social media graphs to make predictions about web users. As an investor he invests in tech startups, particularly in the AI sector and he has the ear of some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs and technologists

In this episode we discuss

- Azeem’s lessons as a successful entrepreneur and how that affects his investment decisions
- The potential impact of AI on the labour market and how to position yourself for the changes to come
- How technology changes our understanding of the world and how we act in it

This episode was a real pleasure to record and it was great to get inside the head of someone who has thought as deeply about the interactions between technology, business and society as Azeem has.

Nov 21, 2018

Richard Bowdler is the founder of StoryThis, a company that develops bespoke learning solutions for companies who want to maximise their investment in learning & development and he’s also building a technology platform to end unwanted forgetting and make the world a smarter place.

Rich is someone I’ve known for a couple of years now and I was really pleased to finally get him on the show – he’s got a fascinating background having experienced life as a Buddhist, Royal Marine Commando & Memory Expert. In his spare time he also runs an exclusive, invitation-only, peak-performance mind-body training programme for executives. 

In this episode we discuss

- The learning environment in the military and how it differs to school and university
- How Rich first came across memory palaces and how we can all use them to improve our learning and manage our knowledge
- The skills that Rich believes are essential to thrive in the 21st century, including the art of personal reinvention

So whether you want to boost your memory, reinvent yourself or you’re just curious about the learning environment in the Royal Marines, this episode will leave you with range of useful insights.

Oct 10, 2018

Uri Bram is the bestselling author of Thinking Statistically and the CTO of Umuzi, an educational organisation that supports talented young people to develop the skills needed to access high-value careers.

For those of you who are long time listeners, you may remember Uri first appeared on the podcast back on episode 62 where we spoke about key statistical principals, music theory and learning skills from experts.

Uri like me is someone who is interested in a number of different areas and he’s been up to a lot since we last spoke, joining Umuzi in South Africa as their CTO.

Umuzi teach a range of digital skills, including coding, copywriting and design, using real life projects to make the experience as practical as possible.

In this conversation we discuss a range of topics including:

  • How the courses are selected and delivered at Umuzi and how they compare to other alternative education programs
  • Whether there is a tradeoff between training skills and teaching people to think
  • How to choose projects when you have a lot of interests and trouble focusing

So whether you’re interested in alternative education or have too many interests and want to find a way to pick your projects better, this episode will leave you with a range of useful insights.

Oct 2, 2018

Fritjof Capra is a scientist, educator and author, best known for his groundbreaking work in the fields of Physics and Systems Thinking.

Capra first became widely known for his book, The Tao of Physics, which explored the ways in which modern physics was changing our worldview from a mechanistic one to a holistic one. 

Since then Fritjof has embarked on a multidisciplinary adventure, exploring the connections between the sciences, producing a remarkable body of work and teaching all over the world.

His most recent book, The Systems View of Life integrates the biological, cognitive, social, and ecological dimensions of life into one unified vision, which has implications for politics, economics and how we live our lives.

Fritjof also spent a decade studying the notebooks of the ultimate Renaissance Man – the artist, scientist and engineer, Leonardo Da Vinci – producing two books on the subject which show that Leonardo himself was a systems thinker long before the term was even invented. 

In this conversation we discuss

- How many of the problems in our world from climate change to financial security are just facets of a single crisis in perception
- How you can learn systems thinking and teach it to others
- The secrets behind Leonardo Da Vinci’s genius

This was a fascinating and wide ranging conversation – Fritjof has dedicated his career to these subjects so this episode will definitely challenge you and get you thinking about the world from different perspectives.

Sep 5, 2018

Alex Beard is an author, speaker and the Senior Director of the Global Learning Lab at Teach for All network of independent organizations working to help all children fulfill their potential.

After starting out as an English teacher in a London comprehensive, he completed an MA at the Institute of Education before joining Teach For All. 

Alex has travelled around the world in search of the practices that will shape the future of learning and these experiences form the basis of his book Natural Born Learners which he describes as a user's guide to transforming learning in the twenty-first century,

Alex’s experiences formed the basis of our discussion in this episode we discuss three big issues, concretised in his experiences:

  • The power of education for development and the dangers of exam factories in South Korea
  • The potential of personalised learning and the dangers of over optimisation in Silicon Valley
  • The human centred model of education and celebration of teachers in Finland

We also discuss the personal takeaways Alex got from his trip around the world that you can apply to your learning on an individual basis – so whether you’re a parent, teacher or learner this episode has you covered.

Aug 28, 2018

Barbara Oakley is an educator and writer who’s empowering people all over the world to learn more effectively.

For those of who you who are long time listeners you’ll remember Barb from Episode 46 of the show, where we discussed Barb’s insights from learning skills in the US military and retraining herself as an engineer at the age of 26.

She’s best known for her role as the lead instructor on Coursera’s Learning How To Learn, one of the world’s most popular online courses and her bestselling book A Mind for Numbers, which the course was based on.

It’s been a year and a half since we last spoke and in that time Barb has released her second MOOC Mindshift and launched a new book, Learning How To Learn, which is a guide at effective learning aimed at kids and teens.

In this episode we discuss:

  • Barb’s journey as a thought leader in the learning space
  • Teaching children how to learn effectively
  • Whether the future of online educational content is free

This conversation is great as a standalone piece and I’m sure you’ll get a lot from it, whether you’re a parent who wants to be more proactive in your child’s education or an aspiring thought leader who wants to reach a big audience without compromising on your principles.

Jul 21, 2018

Andreas M. Antonopoulos is a best-selling author, speaker, educator and one of the world’s top bitcoin and open blockchain experts.

You’d have to be living on a planet far, far away to not have heard of Bitcoin and Blockchain technology these days. Whether it’s the daily price movements in Bitcoin or how ICOs are turning some people into millionaires and bankrupting others it’s getting hard to find a signal above the noise.

But if you scratch below the surface you’ll realise that Bitcoin and the Blockchain technology it’s built on isn’t a fad – it has the potential to transform the lives of billions of people and transform the world as we know it.

If there’s one guy to speak to about all this it’s Andreas. He’s the bestselling author of 4 books, an internationally acclaimed speaker sought all over the world, and he’s even testified in hearings of the Australian and Canadian Senate about cryptocurrencies and their implications for society.

In this conversation we dive into a whole range of topics including:

- The 6 career epiphanies Andreas had that led him into the crypto space
- The core principles behind cryptocurrencies and how Bitcoin and Ethereum can coexist in the same ecosystem
- The implications of the technology for our lives as individuals and for society

Andreas is both a specialist and a generalist and he approaches the subject by drawing on multiple fields including history, economics and psychology. He’s also a very engaging speaker as you’ll discover in this episode and you’ll get a lot out of this conversation regardless of how much you know about Bitcoin or Blockchain.

May 31, 2018

I recently turned 26 and this summer will be 5 years since I graduated from university, which means I’ve been making my way in the world of work for half a decade.

I’ve definitely learned a lot over the last couple of years and while I’ve certainly developed expertise in the field of accelerated learning, I think some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned have been career related.

So in this episode I’m going to share 5 lessons I’ve learned in the last 5 years that will help you level up your career and get you closer to where you want to be.

These core lessons are going to sound simple, but I’ll be drawing on my own experience - both good and bad - along with the conversations I’ve had with some remarkable people on the podcast to make them concrete.

The purpose of this episode is not to get you to blindly follow what I did – but to get you to reflect on your own experience in a way that gets you to take action that makes sense for your own career ambitions.

May 24, 2018

Alex Dunsdon is an entrepreneur and investor who thrives on connecting people and ideas.

He’s the Co-Founder of the Bakery an innovation agency which transforms big companies by connecting them up to the technology and talent they need to solve their biggest problems.

He’s also a partner at Saatchi Invest, where he backs mission drive founders that obsess over product and has invested in business like City Mapper and Dojo

In this episode we discuss:

- Alex’s career lessons including a light bulb moment that changed everything and why he invests in cult leaders
- The challenges of corporate innovation and why corporates should be competing with VCs given their assets
- The LinkyBrains community Alex has founded and the importance of multidisciplinary thinking for innovation

So whether you’re looking for tips on how to think better and innovate in the modern world of work or are just curious about how a seasoned operator picks his companies and grows a business, this episode has you covered.

Apr 10, 2018

Charles Fadel is the founder and chairman of the Center for Curriculum Redesign, an institution focused on making education more relevant and answering the question: “What should we learn in the 21st century?” 

Charles is also a respected thought leader and author in the global education space who works with several teams at the OECD and he’s also co-authored the highly regarded 4 Dimensional Education and 21st Century Skills. 

Prior to starting the Center for Curriculum Redesign, Charles had a 25-year career in the technology space, which included 13 years as Global Education Lead at Cisco Systems – so it’s safe to say that he has witnessed first hand the disruptive effects of exponential change. 

In this conversation we dive into a whole range of topics including: 

- The race between technology and education and its implications for your career
- The knowledge, skills and character traits needed to thrive in the 21st century
- The challenge of measuring soft skills and metalearning CCR's efforts to do so

So if you're curious about the knowledge and skills you need to acquire to future proof yourself and attempts to update the curriculum for our generation, this episode has you covered.

Apr 3, 2018

Aubrey de Grey is a biomedical gerontologist, and the Chief Science Officer of SENS Research Foundation, a California based non-profit charity dedicated to combating the aging process.

Through his work at SENS, Aubrey works on the development of medical innovations that promote rejuvenation and can postpone all forms of age-related ill-health including diseases like alzheimers, certain forms of cancer and atherosclerosis.

Aubrey started off as a computer scientist and AI Researcher before becoming a self-taught bio gerontologist, which makes him a fascinating example of someone who can pick up new skills and develop deep knowledge in new fields

In this conversation we discuss:

- The transferability of research as a skill and the multidisciplinary nature of innovation
- The core ideas behind Aubrey’s research – and what that means for the future of human aging
- How to successfully spread your message to attract interest to your work

Aubrey has a love for bold statements and is often a magnet for controversy in the media, but he’s a remarkably flexible and original thinker, so whether you're curious about the future of human aging or want to learn more about how to communicate effectively in a world full of noise, this episode has you covered.

Mar 20, 2018

This episode is another special one on equations that changed the world. 

Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity is widely known as the world’s most famous equation created by history’s most famous scientist. 

In simple terms the equation reads - E = MC² which states that Energy = Mass x Speed of Light²

This theory predicts the equivalence of mass and energy and a space-time continuum, which fundamentally changed our understanding of the universe and how it works. 

In practical terms, Einstein’s theory ultimately led to the creation of nuclear energy sources – a defining moment in the history of humanity similar to the discovery of fire, because it allowed us to have far greater energy yields than we’d ever had before by splitting the atom…

Today’s guest, Kalid Azad, is the founder of Better Explained, one of the world's most popular maths websites that makes hard concepts easy to understand. After studying Computer Science at Princeton, Kalid spent a few years at Microsoft as a program manager, founded a Y Combinator startup, and currently works as a developer.

Kalid uses an intuition first approach to explain difficult ideas in a way that anyone can understand and this makes him the perfect guide for this episode. In this episode we discuss:

- Einstein’s backstory and how it influenced his work
- The mechanics of the equation in a way that you can understand
- The implications of the equation for our view of the Universe

So whether you’re looking to find out more about Einstein, dive deeper into the equation and its importance, or explore maths and physics in a way that’s fun and accessible, this episode has you covered. 

Mar 8, 2018

What I've found from experience is that presenting on and off camera is both a science and an art.

As an academic tutor and university lecturer I’ve spent plenty of time standing up and presenting to students, and I've now racked up plenty of hours in front of the camera by creating my own online course, Make Me A MetaLearner, and teaching on my YouTube channel.

To improve my skills, I've studied some of the best presenters, both past and present, to try and find out what they did differently.

What I discovered is that they all followed certain rules, despite having very different individual styles, which have been developed through years of consistent deliberate practice.  

These rules apply whether you’re a beginner who’s presenting for the first time, or an experienced pro who’s spoken plenty of times before.

In this episode I'm joined by writer videographer and all around MetaLearner Will Reynolds and we discuss:

- How to create a consistent presenting style and tone
- How to manage your energy levels to come across well
- How to optimise your body language for maximum impact

So whether you're looking to get in front of the camera or want to nail a presentation at work, this episode has you covered.

Feb 28, 2018

James Bidwell is the owner of Springwise, an innovation portal, which crowd sources innovation ideas from all over the world and publishes the top 3 every day.

He is also the co-founder of RE_SET, an innovation consultancy for the disruption economy working with boards to help them thrive in an unpredictable world. James was also formerly a marketing manager at Disney, marketing director at Selfridges and CEO of Visit London.  

In this episode we discuss:

- How to stay on top of the rapid pace of change in modern society 
- How to innovate in the 21st century disruption economy 
- How to market effectively in a noisy world, while staying true to values

So whether you’re curious about how to stay relevant in a constantly changing world or want to find out how to get your message heard in a world full of noise, this episode has you covered.

Feb 13, 2018

The process of authoring and producing my first course, Make Me A MetaLearner, was a great learning experience for me.

It taught me a lot about the skills of research and writing and the importance of structuring educational content in a way that's easy to digest and understand for students. 

As a university lecturer I’ve spent plenty of time preparing lessons and delivering them to students, but authoring an online course was a completely different ball game for me.

Looking back, I can see that a big part of the process could be broken down into a number of key steps, which I had to figure out by trial and error. 

This episode is part of my process for reflecting on what I've learned and in it I'm joined by writer, videographer and all around MetaLearner Will Reynolds. We discuss:

- How to brainstorm ideas effectively and channel them into a skeleton structure
- How to manage the process of a prolonged piece of writing and stay productive
- How to build a system that makes your educational content easy to understand

So whether you want to author your own educational content or are just curious about what goes on behind the scenes here at MetaLearn, this episode has you covered.

Feb 7, 2018

Tom Stafford is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Cognitive Science at the University of Sheffield.

He’s also the author of the book Mindhacks, a book featuring 100 DIY mind experiments you can try at home, and he runs the excellent MindHacks blog dedicated to psychology and neuroscience news & views.

Tom has done some fascinating research into skill acquisition by studying the process of playing computer games (which can be tracked across the whole learning curve) drawing out some useful general insights that you can apply to any skill you’re learning.

In this conversation we discuss a range of topics including: 

- What Tom has discovered about the learning process through his research in cognitive science
- The tradeoff between trying new things (exploration) and doing what works (exploitation)
- The keys to teaching effectively and improving the classroom experience for students

So whether you’re looking for some cutting edge insights from cognitive science to apply to your learning or are curious about how it can improve the classroom experience, this episode has you covered.

Feb 2, 2018

Finding great teachers is a big part of learning anything. 

But for most people, the top experts are off limits.

They’re only available to the few who can afford to fork out for their services, or a select who have spent years working their way up in the industry have the privilege of meeting and working with them. 

So what if I told you that in 12-24 months you could be speaking to any teacher or expert you wanted? 

That you could create your own education, build your own curriculum and learn from the best in the world. 

You’d probably be interested. And you’d probably say I was crazy.

But in the last 18 months since launching the MetaLearn Podcast, that’s exactly what I’ve done. 

In this episode I'm joined by writer, videographer and all around MetaLearner Will Reynolds and we discuss:

- How to choose your niche and build a brand around your podcast
- How to reach out to guests, get the gear you need and interview them for your show
- How to edit and promote your podcast to share your learning with a wider audience

So whether you're looking to start your own podcast or are just curious about what goes on behind the scenes here at MetaLearn, this episode has you covered.

Jan 26, 2018

Tim Urban is the founder of the blog WaitButWhy and is one of the Internet’s most popular writers.

With brilliant stick-figure illustrations and epic analysis on everything from artificial intelligence to the future of the brain, Wait But Why, has gained a huge audience and number of famous fans such as Tesla, Space-X and Solar City CEO, Elon Musk.

Musk asked Tim to write about his companies and their surrounding industries, leading to a five-part series of posts discussing the importance of sustainable energy and transport, the future of space exploration and the implications of an AI augmented human brain.

In this episode we discuss:

- The future of the brain and the difference between human and computer intelligence
- How Tim learns from the smartest people in the world, including Elon Musk and his team
- What human super-intelligence means for you and the superpowers it could give you

So whether you’re curious about the future of the brain and what we humans will be able to do down the road or just want to get some tips on how to learn from the world’s smartest people, this episode has you covered.

Jan 17, 2018

This episode is a special one on equations that changed the world. 

And what better one to start with than Isaac Newton’s Universal Law of Gravity – an equation that ultimately helped us put a man on the moon!

In simple terms the equation reads:

Earth’s Gravitational Force = (G x M x m) / D squared 

Earth’s Force = (Gravitational Constant x Earth’s Mass x Mass of the Object) /  Distance between the Earth and Object Squared

What this equation allowed the smart scientists at NASA to do was to to establish with accuracy where exactly the moon was, which was no mean feat in itself. 

And by calculating the rate at which gravity diminished on the way to the moon, they determined what size rocket they’d need and the best route to get there.

Today’s guest, Kalid Azad, is the founder of Better Explained, one of the world's most popular maths websites that makes hard concepts easy to understand. 

After studying Computer Science at Princeton, Kalid spent a few years at Microsoft as a program manager, founded a Y Combinator startup, and currently works as a developer.

Kalid uses an intuition first approach to explain difficult ideas in a way that anyone can understand and this makes him the perfect guide.

In this episode we discuss: 


- Newton’s backstory and how it influenced his work
- The mechanics of the equation in a way that you can understand
- The implications of the equation for our view of the Universe

So whether you’re looking to find out more about Newton, dive deeper into the equation and its importance, or explore maths and physics in a way that’s fun and accessible, this episode has you covered. 

Jan 9, 2018

Tiago Forte helps people and companies improve their productivity and prepare for the future of work using design thinking and technology.

He does this through his consultancy and training firm Forte Labs, and as editor of Praxis, a members-only online publication on the future of productivity.

He has also produced a series of highly successful online courses on productivity and has written a book on the future of work.

In this conversation we get into:

- The fundamental pillars of a great note taking system
- How design thinking can be used to improve your productivity
- The actions you can take to prepare yourself for the future of work

So whether you’re looking to finally get organised in 2018 or want to future proof your career, this episode will give you plenty of awesome insights that you can apply right away. 

Jan 3, 2018

Today’s episode is a special one for several reasons. 

First, it’s episode 100 of the podcast! This is a big milestone so thank you for supporting the show and I’m looking forward to taking things forward in the weeks and months to come.   

Second, it’s the first day of 2018 – so Happy New Year and all the best to you and yours for the year ahead.

And third, this episode is my review of 2017, so in it I’ll discuss 5 key lessons I’ve learned in the year gone by. I’ll take story from my own experience that demonstrates each lesson and then try and draw some generalisable advice that you can apply to your learning and life. 

In this episode I discuss: 

- The 3 qualities of all exceptional learners I’ve discovered from my interviews
- How to identify great teachers and filter through the average ones
- The importance of accountability and how to set up systems that create it 

So whether you’re looking to pick up a new skill in 2018, want to find a great teacher or are just curious about what I’ve learned in the year gone by, this episode has you covered.

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