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The Learner Lab

Author: Trevor Ragan, Alex Belser - The Learner Lab

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Each episode we'll dive into a topic that can us become better learners. We're going to keep it short, sweet, and to the point.
21 Episodes
Learner: Chapters 1-4

Learner: Chapters 1-4


Learning is the most important skill. Great learners are agile, resilient, and adaptable. Great learners can acquire new skills when new demands arise. In times of change, learners will thrive.The best news: learning is a skill – one that anyone can get better at.This book will provide the tools and science to help you do just that.Learner Lab WebsiteTrevor RaganLearner the AudiobookChapters & Release Schedule:Episode 1 – Oct 19Chapter 1 – RudyChapter 2 – Why LearningChapter 3 – TigersChapter 4 – Why We Zoo TigerEpisode 2 – Oct 26Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7Episode 3 – Nov 2Chapter 8Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Episode 4 – Nov 9Chapter 11 Chapter 12Episode 5 – Nov 16Chapter 13 Chapter 14 
We wrote a book. But instead of selling it to you, we're going to present the whole thing, right here, in an audiobook format, for free.We'll drop a few chapters each week!For contact information + more free learning resources
The way we traditionally look at emotions can hurt our capacity to grow. To become a better learner we need to change our perceptions of emotions, learn to feel them, understand them, and to work with them rather than against them.Featuring:Susan David - Psychologist: Harvard Medical SchoolMarc Brackett - Director: Yale Center for Emotional IntelligenceFull show notesQuick Links:Susan DavidEmotional Agility by Susan DavidChecking with Susan David (podcast)Marc BrackettPermission to Feel by Marc BrackettMarc Brackett and Brene Brown (podcast)Alex BelserTrevor Ragan
Our actions have more of an impact on the learning environment than we realize. If we understand the power of modeling, upgrade the way we think about it, and become more intentional about it - we can all improve the learning environment for the people around us.Special guests:Karch Kiraly - Head Coach: USA Women's VolleyballCeci Craft - All Terrain ProjectFull Show NotesQuick Links:Ceci CraftKarch KiralyAll Terrain ProjectImitation StudyImitation Who What StudyPsychological Safety EpisodeAlex BelserTrevor Ragan
All practice is not created equally. To become a better learner we need to engage in more purposeful, deliberate practice. Anders Ericsson, one of the world's leading experts in learning, explains how we can use his research to get better at getting better.Full show notesQuick LinksAnders EricssonPeak by Anders EricssonAlex BelserTrevor Ragan
To build a skill or make a lasting change we have to get on the path of taking and sustaining action. Understanding a few core principles from the field of behavioral economics can help us stay on that path - helping groups and individuals take more action and become better learners.Full Show NotesQuick LinksPredictably Irrational by Dan ArielyAlex BelserTrevor Ragan
Research shows that communicating with stories can lead to more retention, action, and connection - which are all essential elements of learning. Today we're going to present the research that shows why stories are so powerful. And then Matthew Dicks (one of the world's best storytellers) will give us some tools and techniques to become better storytellers and communicators. Full Show NotesQuick LinksMatthew DicksStoryworthy by Matthew DicksRetention StudySimulation StudyBlood Pressure StudyEinstein StudyHow Stories Enhance Learning by Saga BriggsWhy Does the Brain Love Stories? by Saga BriggsAlex Belser’s WebsiteTrevor Ragan
Often times we judge our process and decisions by to the quality of the outcome. The research calls this outcome bias and the poker world calls it resulting. No matter what you call it, this can lead to a number of traps that hurt the learning process. The good news: once we understand how it works we can find ways to avoid resulting and become better learners.Full Show NotesQuick LinksOutcome Bias StudyThinking in Bets by Annie DukeCasey Yontz’s TwitterAlex Belser’s WebsiteTrevor Ragan
If we want to make a lasting change we need to understand how to build our underlying habits. In this episode we call upon one of the world’s leading researchers on habits, Wendy Wood, to show us how to do that.Full Show NotesQuick Links:Good Habits, Bad Habits by Wendy WoodWendy’s TwitterAlex Belser’s WebsiteTrevor Ragan
Trevor and Alex are back for season 2! Each week we dig into useful tools that can help you and your people become better learners.
All groups are not created equally. Some over achieve, others under achieve, but why is that? What's the cause of that? A Harvard researcher, a bestselling author, and a tech company all asked that same question and discovered the same answer: psychological safety.Full Show NotesFeaturing:Daniel Coyle: NY Times Bestselling AuthorAmy Edmondson: Harvard Business School ProfessorEric Ragan: Grinnell College Women's Volleyball head coachNora Hill: Grinnell College Women's Volleyball co-captainQuick links:Project AristotleThe Culture CodeThe Fearless OrganizationAmy Edmondson's TEDx TalkGrinnell College Women's Volleyball
What can a college football program, a six year old, an auditing company, a HS basketball player, and Uber driving educator teach us about learning? They show us that the only way we can grow is if we're willing to step out of our comfort zone and struggle a bit.Featuring:The one and only, Seth GodinFull Show NotesQuick Links:Skateboarding VideoYale Comfort Zone ResearchAlex's VideosLearning Like a Jungle Tiger TEDx
Sleep is one of the most important, yet underrated components of the learning process. We brought in Dr. Marcos Frank - neuroscientist from Washington State University - to explain his research and show how sleep affects neuroplasticity and our capacity to grow. Full Show NotesQuick Links:Dr. Marcos FrankThe Cat StudyThe Rat StudySleep and Motor Skills StudyDr. Matthew WalkerWhy We Sleep by Matthew WalkerMatthew Walker interview
Understanding some simple principles of behavioral economics can help us make better decisions in the short run to achieve our long term goals. This can help us take and sustain action on any learning pursuit. Full Show NotesQuick Links:Predictably Irrational by Dan ArielyPayoff by Dan Ariely Alex's Behavioral Econ
Limiting beliefs get in the way of learning. We can all work to overcome these by building a true growth mindset (the belief that we can grow our skills). The most effective way to build a growth mindset is to dig into the research of neuroplasticity and really work to understand how our brain learns.Featuring:Dr. Michael Merzenich Neuroscientist at The University of California, San Francisco. Known as “The father of brain plasticity”Full Show NotesQuick Links:Soft-wired by Michael MerzenichHow to Build a Growth Mindset (video)The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman DoidgeLondon Cab Driver Study
When the performance matters we're going to feel some pressure, nerves, and stress. Whether it's a big presentation, a test, or even a date - most people think the most effective way to prepare for these situations is to try and calm down. In this episode, we dig into research that shows why this is a poor approach and the look at how we can do better. We learn how Ceci Clark, Mental Performance Coach for the Cleveland Indians, helps major leaguers perform better under pressure. We also bring in Jeremy Jamieson, Director of University of Rochester's Social Stress Lab, to help explain the science behind stress and how changing our perception of it can lead to better performance.Full Show NotesQuick Links:GRE StudyReappraisal Research by Allison Wood BrooksJeremy Jamieson - Director of the Social Stress Lab: University of RochesterCeci Clark - Mental Performance Coach: Cleveland IndiansTrainUgly.comQuestion hotline: 805-635-8459
Taking Action

Taking Action


Action is the most important step of the learning process. It can also be one of the most difficult.In order to grow we have to take and sustain action - today we unpack two frameworks that will help provide the fuel.Full Show NotesQuick LinksCreativity Inc by Ed CatmullThe Culture Code by Dan CoyleWorkLife Podcast by Adam Grant
The tech world is constantly pushing the limits of innovation, problem solving, and product development. This week we brought in the CEO of Bebo, Shaan Puri, to explain some of these systems and how we can all use them to become more effective learners.Question Hotline: 805-635-8459Full Show NotesQuick Links:The Learn Startup OverviewThe Lean Startup by Eric RiesShaan PuriIntrinsic Motivation - TED talk by Dan
There's a huge gap between what the science says about how we should study, practice, and learn vs how we actually do it. We met with learning experts and UCLA Psychologists Dr. Elizabeth Bjork and Dr. Robert Bjork to figure out how to close that gap.Full show notesQuick Links:Made to StickElizabeth BjorkRobert BjorkBjork Learning and Forgetting Lab
Our expectations can have a huge impact on the performance and development of our people. Trev and Alex sit down with one of the most influential psychologists in the world, Robert Rosenthal, to learn more.Full show notesQuick Links:Pygmalion in the Classroom by Robert RosenthalPygmalion in the Classroom Pygmalion in Prison Classrooms Pygmalion in Management Israel Defense Forces
Comments (8)

Abel Espino

Your last pad cost was amazing!! Thank you so much for the work you put into it. It'll help my life out so well. Thank you 🙏🏼

Jun 19th

ben deco

Trev, Alex. Great to hear you back for second season, would like to have more but understand the work schedule. old sticker here in UK looking shabby. Keep passing your details about the rugby union coaches here in the UK also... maybe a few to hand out in development stuff??

Mar 19th

Cliffy B.

Ep9. Some peeps metabolize stank water (coffee) faster than otherseseses.

May 18th

Tessa O'Donnell

love this pod, been recommending it to all my friends. I'm doing my masters in sport psychology right now and this is so helpful and interesting !!

May 16th

Cliffy B.

Ep3. PRACTICE? WE TALKING ‘BOUT PRACTICE? Mega dope episode. And so easy to apply to my so-called life.

May 7th

Abel Espino

Hey guys! I've really been enjoying your podcasts. I highly recommend seeing about adding some music in the background. I've been having lo-fi hip hop beats playing on YouTube. and I think it plays off your theme/voices real well and makes it addicting to listen to.

Apr 11th

Erica Tanner Davis

Great job!! Really enjoying this podcast.

Mar 20th

ben deco

Nice move Trev, support from the UK.👍🏻

Feb 13th
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