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The Learning Hack podcast

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What are the significant innovations shaping the future of learning? How is digital technology and scientific discovery changing the way we learn, train, teach and educate? Join John Helmer in conversation with the people who are visioning and actively creating that future. Published fortnightly (don't forget to subscribe!).

What are the significant innovations shaping the future of learning? How is digital technology and scientific discovery changing the way we learn, train, teach and educate? Join John Helmer in conversation with the people who are visioning and actively creating that future. Published fortnightly (don't forget to subscribe!).


United Kingdom


What are the significant innovations shaping the future of learning? How is digital technology and scientific discovery changing the way we learn, train, teach and educate? Join John Helmer in conversation with the people who are visioning and actively creating that future. Published fortnightly (don't forget to subscribe!).






+44 7757008415


LH #42 Why Does It Have To Be So Difficult? with Stella Collins

Cognitive load theory tells us that we have to do our best to make things easier for learners. But Bjork says that 'necessary' (or 'desirable') difficulties are an essential part of the process. Should learning be easy or difficult? Is there a simple way to resolve this apparent contradiction – or is it a matter of trade-offs? John talks to Stella Collins, one of the 'Brain Ladies' and also Co-founder and Chief Learning Officer of Stellar Labs, based in Belgium. With degrees in...


LH #41 Evidently Mirjam with Mirjam Neelen

John talks to Mirjam Neelen, Head of Global Learning Design & Learning Sciences at Novartis, and a well-known blogger and speaker. She recently co-authored a book, Evidence-Informed Learning Design, with Paul Kirschner that has been extremely influential in learning and development. The book has plentiful tips, tools and examples to help L&D and training professionals avoid the myths and hype and design effective learning based on solid research. The conversation also covers two...


LH #40 Either/Or with Lior Locher

John talks to Lior (Christine) Locher, a learning consultant, coach, author, and a director of the elearning network. Lior's experience spans journalism, practitioner L&D roles for companies such as McKinsey, Deloitte and the Boston Consulting Group as well as creative work and beer blogging. She has lived and worked on 4 continents. She knows 22 languages and speaks seven to intermediate level. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Learning and Performance Institute. They...


Great Minds on Learning: The Cognitivists with Donald Clark

This time we're featuring the pilot episode of a brand new podcast from the Learning Hack team, Great Minds on Learning. In this series, Donald Clark, the internationally famous author, blogger and entrepreneur, joins John Helmer to discuss the history of thought and theorising about learning. It’s all here: the inspired, the enduring, the wacked-out weird and the just plain wrong in 2,500 years of learning theory from Aristotle to the present day. This inaugural episode is about...


LH #38 No Filter with Toby Harris

John talks to Toby Harris, Product Marketing Manager at Filtered. Filtered is an innovative company that uses AI to help large organizations deliver relevant learning content to the right people at the right time, using personal recommendations to help build the skills they need. FIltered is rated a 'specialist' in Fosway's 9-grid for learning systems, so where does it sit within the learntech ecosystem? Filtered is all about categorizing information and knowledge for organizations – but...


LH #37 E=MC5 with Gregg Collins

John talks to Dr. Gregg Collins, Chief Learning Scientist at NIIT. A Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence from Yale University, Dr. Collins played a key role in the seminal research carried out at the Institute for the Learning Sciences (ILS) at Northwestern University in Chicago. He was a co-founder of Cognitive Arts Corporation, which was incorporated in 1995 to commercialize ILS and has been consistently recognized as a pioneer and leader in the effective use of instructional design and...


LH #36 Got Any Other Numbers, Charles? with Charles Jennings

John Talks to Charles Jennings, who is Partner, Strategy and Performance of Tulser / 70:20:10 Institute. Recognised as one of the world's leading experts on building and implementing learning and organisational performance strategies, Charles has led projects for multinational corporations, government agencies, not-for-profits, and other organisations for more than 40 years. He has also held several academic posts. They discuss the influence of knowledge management, the conspiracy of...


LH #35 A Brief History of Learning Systems with Donald Clark

'People imagine that technology's a recent thing in learning, [but] it's always been there.' From its earliest beginnings in cave paintings to today's AI-driven learning systems with interfaces influenced by consumer technology, Donald Clark tells the colourful story of learning technologies in conversation with John Helmer. Donald has been an important part of that history himself. Growing up in the housing schemes of Livingston, Scotland, Donald studied Philosophy at Edinburgh...


LH #34 Learning Systems with Page Chen

John talks to Page Chen, CEO of Remote Learner; a learntech business leader with a strong academic background. How does she characterise the development of learning systems in the first two decades of the 21st Century, a period during which there was a good deal of pushback from 'guru' figures and practitioners alike against the admin-focused model promulgated by the industry? Have we reached a place now where the design of learning systems is better informed by learning...


LH #33 Behaviour Points with Julie Dirksen

John talks to Julie Dirksen, a leading expert in instructional design, digital learning and behaviour change. Is it a problem for learning professionals that even when they have supported learners in gaining the knowledge and skills they need to do things right, and to do the right thing, once back in the workplace they so often do the exact opposite? This conversation dives deep into the mechanics of behaviour change, addressing the 'elephant and rider' problem in human psychology,...


LH #32 Beyond Learning with Harold Jarche

John talks to Harold Jarche, blogger, speaker and consultant in the closely adjacent but oddly separate worlds of learning and knowledge management. People at work need more than skills training and compliance learning. They have to navigate the complex knowledge environment that technology has given us, using concepts and tools that are part of an emerging field described by figures such as George Siemens, Dave Snowden, and Harold himself. Harold talks about Personal Knowledge Mastery...


LH #31 What Are We Talking About?

Looking back over a year and a half of podcast episodes, John Helmer summarizes the main themes that have emerged from these these fascinating discussions and attempts to draw insights by taking a helicopter view. Where do people agree, and where do they clash? Includes contributions from George Siemens, Nick Shackleton-Jones, Donald Clark, Connie Malamed, Gianni Giacomelli, Laura Lee-Gibbs, Andrea Miles, Sharon Claffey Kaliouby, Jane Hart, Matthew Confer, Paul Matthews, David...


LH #30 Fantastic Mrs Fox with Laura Lee-Gibbs

John talks to Laura Lee-Gibbs, Digital Learning Consultant & Director of Learn Fox. In her 14 years in the industry she has worked both vendor-side and client-side, across a broad range of sectors including legal, healthcare, retail, automotive, hospitality, financial, charities, professional associations, public sector and government agencies. Her practice focuses on digital transformation, and one of the things she does a lot for clients is to guide them through the difficult decisions...


LH #29 Being B.A.D. with Andrea Miles

John talks to Andrea Miles, CEO of BestAtDigital, about her plans for the new company she is helming, spun out of Cornerstone, and her journey to get to this point. Andrea’s career spans over 20 years in learning, mostly in leadership roles. Since 2004 she has formed and managed to keep together a core team that has seen nine M&A transactions. What it it like to lead through such a time of upheaval, weathering the market consolidations of the last few years? And yet, during this time,...


LH #28 Collective Intelligence with Gianni Giacomelli

John talks to Gianni Giacomelli, Chief Innovation Officer at Genpact, and Head of Design Strategy at MIT’s Centre for Collective Intelligence. Pointing to a growing body of research that pictures intelligence as an emerging property of a network, Gianni argues that we should focus on collective, rather than individual intelligence, in structuring and developing organizations. Diversity is a big part of this, with evidence piling up to show that more diverse teams get better...


LH #27 Learning's New Recession with Sharon Claffey Kaliouby

John talks to Sharon Claffey Kaliouby, VP, North America for Learning Pool, an award-winning professional and co-founder of the #women in learning group with Kate Graham. Sharon has held several high profile executive roles in Learning & Development with the likes of Thomson Reuters and Enterprise Ireland. Prior to Learning Pool, she was a Learning Fellow & Advisor for Elliott Masie Productions and previously Head of Global Learning & Development for State Street Global Advisors in Boston,...


LH #26 Decisions, Decisions with Matthew Confer

John Helmer talks to Matthew Confer, VP, Strategy & Business Development at Abilitie, an expert in leadership and decision-making. How do leaders make tough decisions in tight situations? How do they deal with the law of unintended consequences, which can bedevil so many in positions of authority? Matthew, who has run many simulation training events with leaders in large companies around the world, gives a three-step framework for tough decisions in tight spots, and discusses how leaders...


LH #25 Tool Time with Jane Hart

John Helmer talks to Jane Hart, Founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies (C4LPT), whose Top Tools for Learning list, now in its 12th year, rates the popularity of various technology tools under categories of personal learning, workplace learning and education. The list has consistently highlighted the importance of generic tools such as PowerPoint, Slack and YouTube for learning online, and how big a part informal learning plays in complementing course-based...


LH #24 Change and Complexity with George Siemens

As pressure mounts on L&D to get out of its bind on learning analytics and start taking data seriously, John Helmer talks to Dr George Siemens, founder president of the Society for Learning Analytics Research, and the father of connectivist learning theory. In George’s view, conditions have never been more favourable for a more data-driven approach in Corporate learning, with the Covid crisis massively accelerating digital transformation across all areas of organisational...


LH #023 Learning Transfer with Paul Matthews

John Helmer talks to Paul Matthews, Founder and CEO of People Alchemy, about learning transfer, the business of ensuring that what is learned results in real and measurable change in behaviours and performance. Coming from an engineering background, Paul was motivated to focus on this area by the high failure rate he observed in organisational training initiatives. 01:58 How is Covid affecting Paul and his business? 03:12 Why is learning transfer important? 07:48 What is learning...