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Great Minds On Learning With John Helmer

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John Helmer is the host of two outstanding Learning & Development podcasts: The Learning Hack and Great Minds On Learning. In this episode, John condenses his insights and learning from the conversations he’s led with Donald Clark about the people and approaches that have informed so much of the L&D profession.


  • Experts tend to forget the gaps they had in their knowledge when they knew less, so tend to skip over things. It’s a form of educated incapacity.
  • A surprising amount of learning is unlearning some of the things that are almost instinctive to us.
  • Learning and development professionals don't know or aren't aware of as much of learning theory and science as perhaps you'd expect.
  • Our job as learning professionals, as special as any field, is to disentangle what is valuable about the new and not be scared of innovations.
  • There is a tendency for the industry to repackage old approaches. That is only OK if it has been updated and tweaked to work in a modern setting.

' The expert has difficulty unpacking. So, my job is to help Donald unpack. '
'How do you know that it works, and if you don't know that it works, does it work, and then do less of the stuff that you don't know works,'
' There's a whole lot of counterintuitive stuff involved in learning, which is sort of something we talk about in the learning theory, that has to be to get around to make learning work. '
'You should be ambitious for your profession. '

John Helmer is a writer, editor, and communications strategy expert specialising in the fields of learning, training, education, and publishing, with a particular focus on digital technology innovation. He has led many programmes bringing together thought leaders and practitioners for knowledge sharing and debate, and writes for and edits numerous blogs, as well as producing many white papers and research reports (including articles for peer-reviewed journals).

You can follow and connect with John via:
Great Minds On Learning:
The Learning Hack:

The Learning And Development Podcast -
L&D Master Class Series:


David James
David has been a People Development professional for more than 20 years, most notably as Director of Talent, Learning & OD for The Walt Disney Company across Europe, the Middle East & Africa.
As well as being the Chief Learning Officer at 360Learning, David is a prominent writer and speaker on topics around modern and digital L&D. 


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