Strategies, tools and techniques to help you learn faster, think smarter and live better
As children we’re question generating machines, asking about forty thousand questions between the age of two and five. But then, something happens and the number of questions we ask falls off a cliff. In this article I explore the reasons why we stop asking questions and how to start asking them again.
It is absolutely impossible to imagine human society, intelligence and language without our ability to ask questions. In this series I explore the importance of questions and the frameworks for asking good ones. This first part covers a critical moment in my life when I asked myself a big question - why am I playing this game?
Many people assume that good listeners have an intrinsic talent and that it’s something that can't be learned. But while it may come easier to some people, the reality is that listening skills can be developed with deliberate effort and practice. This post will give you three tips to improve your listening skills and set you on the path to mastery.
Many assume that good speakers possess an intrinsic talent and that their own skills can’t be developed. This just isn’t true. In fact, the formal study of public speaking began around 2,500 years ago in Ancient Greece to train citizens to participate in society. This post will take you back to the source and extract the wisdom of three master orators on the preparation, practice and content of your speech, so you can overcome your fear and take your speaking to the next level.
Finding great teachers is a big part of learning anything but getting access to them is difficult. I’ve had the opportunity to meet and interview world-leading experts through the MetaLearn Podcast and the process of learning from these people has taught me more than I could ever have imagined was possible. I designed this guide to help you do the same, should you choose to do so.
While the prospect of uploading skills to our brain sounds incredible, the idea of 'The Singularity' raises some very serious questions about the future of humanity from a scientific, religious and philosophical perspective. In this post I explore its potential implications for learning and life.
In our smartphone society, gamification is becoming a staple feature in education technology in an attempt to make the learning process more fun. In this post I examine the past, present and future of gamification in learning to find out whether all the hype is really justified.
We all need to think more critically about how we interact with technology, because the secret to getting the best out of it isn't related to which devices we use, but to how we use them. Here’s my take on 3 areas we should all spend more time thinking about when considering the impact of technology on our learning and lives.
The debate about the school curriculum has been raging for hundreds of years – and it’s still not clear what we should be teaching our children. In this post I discuss the various perspectives on the debate with the help of some saber tooth tigers.
Most of the articles and podcasts here on MetaLearn fall under the theme of learning so it’s a word I use regularly. The aim of this post is to to explore how others have defined it over the years and to present a new definition that's fit for the 21st Century.
"What's the point of education?" is a question that’s been asked for thousands of years but we still don’t seem to have an answer that most people would agree with. In this post, I dive into the debate on what the aims of education should be and examine whether they're being implemented in our current system.
I’ve been working on forming my own philosophy of education and feel that this is something more of us need to be thinking about. In this post I discuss the importance of reflecting deeply on the big questions in learning and education, along with an examination of the dominant views of our time.
Two of the core skills of learning in teams are dialogue and discussion. Consciously moving between these two is crucial but most of us are more familiar with the latter than the former. In this post I explore the difference between the two and outline the conditions needed to apply them, drawing on organisational theory and examples from sports and science.
One of the most important disadvantages of learning, working and living on the advice of productivity gurus is that too much structure can stifle creativity. In this post I examine the evidence from history, science and my own personal experience on the subject and discuss what can be done to combat this problem.
Although there is no single language learning method that works for everyone, what is universal is the mindset that you approach the process with and the qualities that you seek to cultivate in yourself. In this post I explore the fundamental principles needed to build the methods that work best for you.
A big part of the battle in language learning is in the mind and a great place to start is by dispelling the limiting beliefs that prevent so most people from making progress. In this post I explore the 5 most common language learning myths and offer strategies for combating them.
The way we define leadership is central to the way our world works so it makes sense to spend some time learning about it. And that's exactly what I did when I attended the Hive Global Leaders Program in San Francisco, a gathering of 150 global leaders from 40+ countries.
We all want to be perfect at anything we learn but these expectations of excellence are often unhelpful and more often than not they leave us in a state of paralysis. In this post I discuss the pitfalls of the perfectionist mindset and provide strategies for combating it.
The society we live in generates a lot of envy but condemns anyone who admits to experiencing it. In this post I look at how we can deal with envy in learning and present some strategies for managing the process of competing with ourselves and others.
Those of us with many interests aren’t always accepted by modern society. In this post I discuss how I've handled the challenges I've faced in my education and career as someone with multiple interests and give my thoughts on how you can do the same.
If you’ve seen The Matrix, you’ll remember that Neo and his friends are pretty good at learning. So good that they can upload skills to their brains in a matter of seconds and start using them right away. In this post I discuss what the film can teach us about the learning process and how to apply these insights in practice.
Starting a podcast has been a great learning experience, for reasons I could never have predicted. But most of the things I've learned have nothing to do with podcasting itself. In this post I dive into the 5 things I've learned about creativity from the process.
Have you ever had that nagging feeling that you should be doing something else? It turns out the negative impact of these feelings on our ability to focus is much greater than we'd expect. In this post I discuss my own experiences and offer solutions to dealing with the problem of incomplete tasks.
It’s hard to think of an idea that’s received more attention in recent years than the growth mindset. In this post I explore how the growth mindset, when misinterpreted, can have a negative impact on learning and discuss strategies you can use to avoid this pitfall.
Emotional encoding is the idea that material that's relevant to our emotional state receives special attention during memorisation, which will make it easier to remember later. In this post I discuss what drives this effect and offer advice on how to take advantage of it.
If we can revisit or recreate the same external environment in which we initially learned something, will our learning and recall be stronger? In this post I explore the impact of environment on learning and memory and offer suggestions for using it to your advantage.
Mnemonic devices are powerful tools for improving your memory because they capitalise on the brain’s enhanced ability to encode, store and retrieve certain types of information. Mnemonic devices help you remember names, dates and related facts and in this post I show you how to use them.
Understanding how we think gives us a clearer picture of what generates creative insights. In this post I explore scientific research and anecdotal evidence on the focused and diffuse modes of thinking and show you how to switch between them to boost your creativity.
Being able to monitor our performance is a critical element of effective learning but we’re often misled by cognitive biases. Calibration allows us to sidestep these biases and in this post I present the key strategies for using it in your learning.
We often associate making mistakes with failure but they're a critical part of the learning process. In this post, I show you the strategies needed to use generation - the process of trying to answer a problem before being given the answer - to deepen your learning.
One of the main reasons some people never learn and continue to make the same mistakes is because they haven’t taken the time to reflect on what they’ve learned and connect it to what they already know. In this post I show you how not to be one of those people.
Mixed practice, the process of interleaving problem types and skills, leads to more effective learning even though it feels awkward. In this post I present the key strategies needed to implement it in your learning.
Our imagination is a remarkable tool but we're never taught how to use it to learn new information. Elaboration helps you access the potential of your imagination and in this post I show you how to use it to to remember what you're studying and have fun along the way.
Spaced repetition is the process of studying information more than once and leaving progressively longer gaps between sessions. In this post I explain why it's so effective and how to use it.
Effective learning techniques feel difficult – but the harder they feel, the better you learn. Testing is one of these counterintuitive strategies and in this post I give you the strategies needed to apply it. practice.
The learning methods most of use may feel effective but the gains from them are limited. Research tells us that other strategies are more effective and I discuss these in this post.
People overestimate how long it takes to get good at a skill, confusing it with mastery. In this post I explore the difference and provide strategies for rapid skill acquisition.