MetaLearn Podcast

The MetaLearn Podcast gives you the knowledge and skills needed to understand yourself and the world around you, so you can futureproof yourself and thrive in the 21st century. Host Nasos Papadopoulos interviews the world's top experts in every field, extracting the principles needed learn faster, think smarter and live better.
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MetaLearn Podcast








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Now displaying: Category: MetaLearning
Aug 20, 2017

In this episode we discuss the major learning problems people face, which can be broken down into 5 main areas:
1) Not getting started
2) Not getting momentum
3) Burning out and giving up
4) Plateauing and losing interest
5) Integrating skills into your life
So whether you're looking to get over the first hurdle of getting started or just want to comfortably integrate a new skill you’ve learned into your life, this episode has you covered.

Aug 3, 2017

Deliberate practice isn't just doing something repeatedly – when done properly, it’s a little more complicated. In this episode we discuss:
- How to manage the tradeoff between quantity and quality of practice
- How to reflect on your progress to calibrate accurately
- How to build learning habits so that practicing becomes automatic
So whether you're looking to play an instrument or pick up a sport this episode will give you the ideas you need to structure your learning and get practicing now!

Aug 1, 2017

Robert Twigger is a bestselling author who has written books on everything from accelerated learning to studying martial arts. In this conversation we discuss:
- The process of using micromastery to learn new skills quickly and enjoyably
- The difference between the Eastern and Western philosophies of learning
- How to learn about yourself and the world through travel and adventure
So whether you’re looking to pick up new skills or start new adventures, this episode will give you all that and more.

Jul 27, 2017

Experts can help you plan your practice, focus on the right sub skills and accelerate your learning through feedback. In this short episode I cover:
- The different types of expert and how to choose the right one for you
- How to get objective feedback so that you can improve
- How to balance your needs for self direction and guidance to accelerate your learning
So whether you’re looking for an expert online or in person, this episode will help you separate the wheat from the chaff.

Jul 21, 2017

We’ve all probably had glimpses of great teamwork in our own lives, where every one’s strengths complement each other and compensate for individual weaknesses, but these are often fleeting and temporary.

But examples of these learning experiences are few and far between in most schools and universities and in the organisations that many work in after finishing their education.

Collaborative learning skills must be continuously refined and practiced, not just things that people write about on their CVs and talk about in job interviews – because they can have a massive impact.

In this short episode, I'm joined by Will Reynolds - writer, videographer and all around MetaLearner. We discuss a range of topics including:

- The benefits of collaboration in learning and how to use it effectively
- The difference between dialogue and discussion and how to use both
- How to find a balance between competition and effective teamwork within groups

So whether you're looking to use collaborative learning to pick up a new skill or just want to work better in teams, this episode will give you everything you need and more.

Jul 18, 2017

Ulrich Boser is a bestselling author and senior fellow at the Centre for American Progress. In this conversation we discuss: 
- The key MetaLearning principles Ulrich discovered in his research
- How Ulrich has applied learning science to basketball
- The importance of trust in education and how to develop it 
So whether you’re looking to upgrade your learning skills or understand how to leverage trust in your learning, this episode will give you all that and more.

Jul 13, 2017

Our natural instinct to compete with others can be a powerful motivator for learning. In this short episode, we discuss:
- The benefits of competition in learning and how to use it constructively
- How competition can harm learning if it’s not kept in check
- How to compete with yourself over an extended period of time
So whether you're looking to use competition to start learning a new skill or just want to try competing with yourself for a while, this episode will give you all you need and more.

Jun 20, 2017

Will Reynolds is a videographer and writer who has become a regular fixture on the podcast. In this episode we discuss:
- How to go from novice to getting paid for new skills like videography
- The importance of cultivating transferable MetaSkills
- The lessons we can learn from autodidacts like Eminem and Frank Zappa 
So whether you’re looking to pick up hard skills and get paid for them or navigate the challenges of being an autodidact, this episode will give you all that and more.

Jun 6, 2017

Gabriele Oettingen is a Professor of Psychology at New York University and the University of Hamburg and a bestselling author. Her research focuses on human motivation and goal setting, exploring the impact of the way we look at the future on our emotions and behaviour.

We’re living in an age where positive thinking is all the rage – from pop music to political speeches thee message is the same: think positive, focus on your dreams and they’ll come true before you know it. The problem with following this advice is not only that it’s empty and hard to action – but that it can actually reduce your chances of achieving your goals.

Gabriele Oettingen has spent twenty years researching the science of human motivation and discovered time and again that conventional positive thinking falls short. By changing the way we think about the future her research has proven that we can become healthier, improve our personal relationships and perform better at work.

In this conversation we discuss a range of topics including:

- How people normally set goals and what they’re doing wrong
- The pitfalls of positive thinking and how to avoid them
- The practical tools you can apply to get better results in your life

So whether you’re looking to make some major changes in your life or just level up that extra one per cent, you’ll learn the practical strategies needed to change your mindset and habits in order to achieve your goals.

May 30, 2017

Ellen Langer is a Harvard psychologist widely known as the “mother of mindfulness” and is the author of eleven books and more than two hundred research articles on mindfulness over the last 35 years.

Mindfulness is becoming more and more of a buzzword these days but very few people actually understand it and even fewer know how to apply it in their everyday lives. But there are few things that can have a bigger impact on your learning and life than improving your awareness of yourself and the world around you.

Ellen is the perfect guide to the field of mindfulness because she takes a clear, no nonsense approach, devoid of the mysticism that often surrounds it. This makes her ideas easy to digest and more importantly, easy to apply in practice.

In this conversation we discuss a range of topics including:

- What mindfulness actually is and how it differs from mindlessness
- Some of the most common learning myths and how to combat them
- How to keep learning fun and avoid it becoming a chore

So whether you're looking to finally understand mindfulness, uncover some of the learning myths that we're vulnerable to at school or improve your awareness of your own learning, this episode will give you all that and more.

Apr 11, 2017

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.

For many people, maths is the subject they used to hate most in school and they carry this fear of numbers into later life. But it doesn't have to be that way - and understanding basic mathematical principles can be both fun and useful.

Kalid uses an intuition first approach to explain difficult ideas in a way that anyone can understand and this makes him a great person to talk to about any subject or skill including his current profession of computer programming.

In this conversation we discuss a range of topics including:

- How to get better at maths and why some people find it so hard
- The secrets behind great explanations of tricky concepts
- How Kalid has learned skills from coding to snowboarding and weight training

So whether you're looking to get better with numbers, learn to code or pick up physical skills, this episode will give you the actionable principles and techniques needed to succeed.

Mar 28, 2017

The MetaLearn podcast has reached the big 5-0. The show is now in 127 countries with listeners on every continent and is growing rapidly – in fact in the first 3 months of 2017, the podcast had 40% more downloads than the whole of 2016!

In today’s special episode you’ll have the chance to hear my reflections on learning and education after fifty episodes of the podcast. I'm interviewed by Joshua Fields, who was the very first guest on the podcast.

Josh is a mental and physical health expert with qualifications in hypnotherapy, NLP and mindfulness meditation and is also a blogger at the Huffington Post, contributing on mental health, entrepreneurship and economics.

In this conversation we discuss a range of topics including:

- My main reflections on learning based on my insights from the podcast
- The lessons I’ve learned from working as a lecturer and teacher
- My views on the future of learning and the educational system

So if you're interested to find out what I've learned after 50 episodes of the podcast, look no further than this special episode.

Feb 28, 2017

Barbara Oakley is an educator and writer who’s empowering people all over the world to learn more effectively. Barb is best known for her role as the lead instructor on Coursera’s Learning How To Learn – the most popular online course in the world last year – and her bestselling book A Mind for Numbers.

For all the hours we spend in school it's remarkable that we're never taught how to learn. This is even more surprising when recent developments in cognitive psychology and neuroscience mean that we know more about the learning process than at any point in history.

Barb's work on the MOOC Learning How To Learn has brought this knowledge to the public domain, with remarkable results thanks to her engaging presentation style and ability to communicate complex ideas in a simple way.

In this conversation we discuss a range of topics including:

- Barb’s insights from learning in the military and retraining as an engineer at 26
- How to apply what cognitive science has established about the learning process
- The future of online education and the success of "Learning How To Learn"

So whether you're looking to upgrade your learning skills, find out more about how they pick up skills in the military or understand the secrets behind great online education, this episode will give you all that and more.

Feb 21, 2017

Is it really possible to learn from animals? For thousands of years, all kinds of authorities have been repeating the idea that we humans are exceptional and by far the most intelligent in the animal kingdom.

So it’s easy to see why we humans think we’re much smarter than animals – but is that actually the case?

The fact that animals don’t understand us in some ways, and that we don’t understand them in others implies our intelligences are different. But different in kind rather than rather in level – like the difference between analytical and musical intelligence, rather than the 'I’m smarter than you' type of intelligence.

In this episode I dive into 5 of the main lessons I think we can learn from our friends in the animal kingdom including:

- What wolves can teach us about leadership
- What ants can teach us about collaboration
- What giraffes can teach us about being ourselves

So by the end you'll have gained insight into to some of the main lessons we can learn from some of the remarkable creatures we share the world with.

Feb 7, 2017

Zahra Davidson is a multidisciplinary designer innovating in education by encouraging people to learn in communities. She is the founder of Enrol Yourself, an organization that gives people the structure and support to pursue learning marathons (long term learning projects) with other lifelong learners.

When we leave school we often miss out on one of the most important components of learning anything - community. Communities allow us to learn from others, assess our performance level and share the learning experience.

Zahra has experience of participating in great learning communities and has now built and managed her own, so she's perfectly placed to offer insights into the process of using community to accelerate the learning process.

In this conversation we discuss a range of topics including:

- The importance of learning in communities
- The impact of the educational system on collaborative learning
- The qualities needed to become a self directed learner

So whether you're looking to join a community to supercharge your learning or start your very own learning marathon, this episode will give you the tools and techniques you need to succeed.

Jan 31, 2017

Children are full of life. They're constantly growing and learning. They embody curiosity and the creative spirit. And these are all qualities we could all use more of in every area of our lives.

We become so used to learning things we don’t really want to at school and university that we stop asking questions. We forget what it’s actually like to learn something we love and to learn it in a way that’s fun and enjoyable.

But the good news is that every one of us can rediscover that boundless curiosity and learn like a child again by looking to the creative geniuses all around us.

In this episode I explore the insights children have to offer us, including:

- Asking questions about everything and exploring your curiosity
- Living fearlessly and recognising your limiting beliefs for what they are
- Having fun and making the learning process enjoyable rather than a chore

So by the end of this episode you'll have everything you need to bring more creativity and joy into your life and work.

Jan 17, 2017

Most people over estimate how hard it is to learn a new skill because they confuse getting good at something with becoming a master in it.

This short episode will give you a simple framework to take you from the novice, beginner stage to an intermediate level of proficiency as enjoyably and effectively as possible in the skill you want to learn.

In this episode you'll learn how to:

- Filter learning projects in order to choose the ones you're likely to stick with
- Build strategies based on the three pillars of mindset, habits and environment
- Deal with the inevitable challenges you'll face on your learning journey

So whether you're building a business, learning a language or picking up a sport, this episode will give you the principles and techniques needed to succeed.

Jan 10, 2017

The idea that we all learn differently has been appropriated by various theorists who suggest that most of us can be placed into one of several predefined categories - or learning styles.

While I’m reluctant to promote one specific category set when it comes to learning, I think the process of looking at them can be helpful in getting you to reflect on your own experience and understand what works best for you.

So in this episode, I’ll outline some areas that I think are important to pay attention to when trying to work out how you learn best, including:

- The activity of learning – Reading vs. Listening vs. Speaking vs. Writing
- The optimal time for learning - The times of day you're wired to learn best at
- The mode of learning - taking a specialist approach vs. a generalist one

This episode will help you identify how you learn best by offering you some simple tools and techniques you can apply to reflect on your personal experience and consider how your learning differs according to the situation you’re in so that you can adapt flexibly to learn the skill you want to in the most effective way.


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.

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.

Aug 30, 2016

Scott Young is a lifelong learner and online entrepreneur who runs the business 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.

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.

Jun 28, 2016

There’s something about learning teams that magnifies any achievement we gain in isolation. We’ve all been part of a team, whether at work or in sports or the arts where everything just works – every one’s strengths complement each other and compensate for individual weaknesses to produce amazing results.

I've been exploring how we can learn better in teams recently, diving into organisational theory and reflecting on my own experiences at the Hive Global Leaders Program in San Francisco and the IO Collective Retreat in Evia, Greece in the last month.

In this episode I discuss a range of topics including: 

- How the individual visions of leaders get translated into communities
- The balance between conflict and cooperation in communities
- How to refine and master the skill of learning in a team

So whether you're looking to have more constructive discussions at work or want to mesh better with your teammates in your Sunday League football team, this episode will offer you actionable tools and techniques you can apply now.

May 27, 2016

Habits are so important because up to 90 percent of our behaviour is based on them, which means they make up nearly all of what we do on a daily basis.

When it comes to learning, we all have good habits and bad habits. And over a longer period of time, these very small behaviours can add up to produce very positive or very negative results.

The good news is that all of them are malleable which means we can learn to effectively change bad habits and better ones. And in this episode you’ll learn to leverage the power of habit in your learning to achieve superhuman results.

In this episode I discuss a range of topics including:

- How to stay motivated when you don’t feel like learning
- How long it takes for a habit to become automatic
- What to do when you fall off the wagon

So whether you're looking to gain a deeper understanding of habit creation and maintenance or apply it to specific skill that you're learning right now, this episode will give you all that and much more.

May 10, 2016

There is a tradeoff between following multiple interests and focusing on one thing - but the key is to find the right balance in a way that works for you.

If your friends and family tell you that you should be focusing more, then you probably fall into the category of someone with multiple interests. If so, I’ve got you covered here with strategies to help you explore these interests, integrate them into your life and focus at the right time.

Alternatively, if you’re someone with a tendency to become doggedly focused on a single learning project in a way that makes it more of a chore than an enjoyable experience, I’ll also give you ways of working novelty into your learning in a way that allows you to continue making progress.

In this episode I discuss a range of topics including:

- How to learn several things at once without getting distracted
- How to identify the times when you need to focus single-mindedly on a skill
- How to build variety into your learning routine to keep it fresh and enjoyable

So whether you're an aspiring polymath or want to focus on a long term learning project, this episode has you covered with actionable strategies you can start applying today.

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