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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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 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.

Jul 12, 2016

Many people assume that great communicators possess an intrinsic talent – they look at the abilities of Martin Luther King, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and assume that it’s a gift that can't be learned or improved.

While I think it may come easier to some people than others, the reality is that almost anyone can become a great communicator with consistent, deliberate practice over a period of time.

In fact it’s pretty shocking that communication skills aren’t taught in the vast majority of schools given how important they are in all areas of life.

In this episode I discuss a range of topics including:

- The basics of public speaking and how to improve regardless of your level
- The techniques you can use to become a better listener
- The tips that will improve the quality of your writing and refine your style

So whether you're looking to become a better listener, speaker or writer, this episode has got you covered with actionable strategies you can apply today.

Jul 5, 2016

Will Reynolds and Erin Potter are the founders of the New Work Order, a close-knit network of ambitious people, building careers on their own terms.

I met Will at a workshop he was running on entrepreneurship and the vision he’s crafted with Erin to help people take control of their own careers resonated with me as it’s something I’ve been trying to do since graduating from university.

The important thing about community is that it allows people to learn from each other and to get a objective view of how they're progressing over time. Will and Erin have done this in the area of career so I decided to get them on for a chat.

In this episode we discuss a range of topics including:

- Build a learning community around you so that taking action becomes a habit
- Manage your work and learning so that it stays fun rather
- Practical strategies to learn a range of skills from web design to writing

So whether you’re looking to pick up skills to build your own career or thinking about how to optimise your work/life balance, you’ll leave this conversation with plenty of actionable ideas to start applying to your life immediately.

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.

Jun 21, 2016

Alex Rawlings is a polyglot and language teacher who runs the blog Rawlangs as well as a series of Polyglot Workshops and Conferences all over the world. In 2012 Alex was named Britain’s most multilingual student after winning a nationwide competition, where he was tested for fluency in eleven languages.

One of the most common language learning myths is that you have to live in a country to learn a language. But this simply isn't true if you're approaching the process properly and Alex is proof of that, having lived in the UK most of his life.

As well as being an exceptional learner Alex is also great at communicating his knowledge and helping others on their language learning journeys, which is why I reached out to him for a conversation.

In this episode you’ll learn Alex’s tips and tricks for:

- Picking the right language teacher
- Refreshing languages you haven’t used for years
- Using technology intelligently in your language learning

So whether you're just getting started on a new language, or want to refresh your high school French or Spanish, this episode will give you actionable strategies that you can apply right away.

Jun 7, 2016

Olly Richards is a language learning expert and entrepreneur, who speaks 8 languages (including French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese and Cantonese) and runs the blog and podcast I Will Teach You A Language.

There are a lot of myths about language learning - and while natural ability and upbringing definitely influence someone's ability, I believe that everyone is capable of learning a foreign language to a good standard.

Olly is a perfect example of someone who's developed his ability over time - he started learning languages when he was 19 and since then has managed to pick up eight, which should serve as a big inspiration to the rest of us.

In this episode you’ll learn Olly’s tips and tricks for language learning including:

- Choosing the right materials in the ocean of available options
- Creating good language learning habits and managing your time
- The most effective methods Olly uses and how to find the ones that work for you

Whether you’re a beginner picking up your first foreign language, or an expert with several already under your belt, you’ll leave with some great new insights and actionable strategies that you can apply straight away to your learning.

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 17, 2016

Tom Rogers is an entrepreneur and the Founder of Music Gurus, a platform that provides music courses & training from the world's top musicians. Tom is also a keen musician – he started his own band at school and went on to study at music college before getting an MBA at INSEAD.

Many of us wish we could learn a musical instrument but don't know how to start. Without music in our lives, we're not only missing out on one of life's great pleasures but we're also robbing ourselves of the broader understanding that music brings because music is a MetaSkill, which can be applied across domains.

In this episode we dive into a whole host of topics including:

- The best strategies you can use to learn instruments from scratch
- How to apply insights from music to other areas like languages and business
- The challenges of building an online education platform

So whether you're looking to pick up an instrument, understand the mechanics of online education or access and apply the principles of music across fields, 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.

May 3, 2016

Alexis is a transformative coach who works with TV personalities, CEOs and award winning authors through his coaching business, the Live Life in Full Colour Project. He also has 10 years of experience in the British Army where he worked as a communications specialist and fitness instructor.

In this conversation we discuss a range of topics including:

- The strategies Alexis used to rapidly pick up skills in the army, including everything from combat training to jumping out of planes
- How to learn by doing and the link between motivation and habit creation
- The techniques Alexis uses with his clients to promote behaviour change

So whether you're looking to learn a new physical skill, remove the obstacle of low motivation or permanently change your behaviour, this episode will give you strategies to achieve all that and much more.

Apr 26, 2016

Greta Rossi and Mark Spokes co-founders of Akasha Innovation, a not for profit social enterprise which gives social entrepreneurs the mindsets and skill sets and they need to succeed on their journey as change makers.

Greta is a social entrepreneur, transformative coach and the acting CEO of Akasha, while Mark is the academic director of the organisation and designed their learning program using a decade of experience in transformative learning and mentoring in higher education and social enterprise.

Having a clear purpose and developing self awareness are both crucial components of learning anything, but they're rarely discussed in any depth in most environments because they're complex and hard to define.

Greta and Mark have spent years helping young people from all over the world to develop these skills, so I reached out to them to get the inside story.

In this conversation we dive deeply into:

- The importance of having a purpose and how to find it
- Accessing multiple intelligences, including emotional and spiritual intelligence
- The process of developing self-awareness on your learning journey

So whether you're looking to find more meaning in what you're learning or want to become more aware of what works for you and what doesn't this episode give you the principles and techniques needed to succeed.

Apr 19, 2016

Dr. Anthony Metivier is the creator of the Magnetic Memory Method - an effective and fun method that helps you remember virtually any kind of information using memory techniques.

So many people believe that having a good memory is linked to intelligence or brain structure. But we're all capable of remembering a remarkable amount of information if we use the right techniques. Put simply, your memory is an incredible tool and whatever you're learning, you should learn how to use it.

Anthony has been using and teaching memory techniques for many years and has even competed in memory sports events, where competitors memorise multiple decks of cards and huge strings of numbers.

In this conversation we discuss a range of topics including:

- How to use memory palaces today to memorise virtually anything
- Strategies for learning languages including German, Spanish and Mandarin
- Insights into the weird and wonderful world of memory sports

So whether you're looking to remember definitions for a final exam, memorise foreign language vocabulary or prepare for a presentation at work, this episode will help you do all of that and much more.

Apr 19, 2016

Anton is an architect turned entrepreneur with a mission to transform the way we live and work. Over the past 10 years he has accelerated a number of social and tech ventures through his consultancy The Exponentials and he is currently a co-founder of the Village 3.0 Movement and Head of Product for TechFarm.

In a world of unlimited access to learning resources it's become possible for all of us to structure our own education like never before. But access to information isn't enough - we still need to cultivate productive habits, leverage the power of community and find inspirational teachers and mentors to guide us on our way.

Anton is a prolific learner and someone who's successfully integrated his continued education into his life, which is why I reached out for a conversation.

In this episode we discuss a range of topics including:

- The current state of the educational system and possible alternatives
- Simple habits you can use to accelerate your own learning
- The importance of your environment and the communities you participate in

Whether you're trying to squeeze more out of your day, or want to find communities and mentors that will support you, this episode has you covered and is packed full of actionable insights you can apply straight away.

Apr 18, 2016

Josh is a mental and physical health expert with qualifications in hypnotherapy, neurolinguistic programming and mindfulness meditation. He also blogs at the Huffington Post on mental health, entrepreneurship and economics.

Josh and I go back to Oxford where he was in the year above me on the same economics course and after bumping into each other a few times since then, we've since become good friends and shared a bunch of fascinating conversations.

Learning is a much more holistic process than most people realise and often, the most important factors in learning anything are psychological and emotional. Put simply, the physical and mental state we're in when we're learning is crucial and Josh has some great insights in these areas.

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

- The amazing techniques that you can use to prime your mind for learning
- How to build a morning routine that sets you up for the day ahead
- The insights we can draw from Eastern Philosophy in the Western World

Whether you're looking to be more productive, build stronger habits or shift your mindset to overcome limiting beliefs, this episode will give you all that and more.

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