Learnlife – Positively transforming education worldwide, together


21 June 2023

Experience a better way of learning, backed by science and research, that is learner-centred and focuses on self-determined, purpose-inspired and personal learning

by Learnlife team

A Barcelona-based education start-up that empowers children on personal learning journeys and supports schools to shift from a teacher-driven to a learner-centric approach. Learnlife was founded in 2017 with the mission to positively transform education worldwide. Since then, we’ve built a new learning innovation ecosystem in Barcelona, united a global community of educators and inspired schools worldwide.

We are thrilled to share our story and hope it can be a source of inspiration for you.

They’ve built a human-centred learning ecosystem in Barcelona that’s inspiring change worldwide

A better future for children – the creation of Learnlife

Our story starts in 2015 in Asia. During a family vacation, Christopher Pommerening and his wife pondered their children’s future and education. They discovered that despite the rapid changes in the world, education systems were not keeping up with the times and were failing to equip children with the necessary skills to succeed.

They soon found they weren’t alone in their struggles. NASA and the World Economic Forum reported that children are not being equipped with the necessary skills for the modern workplace and losing essential talents such as creative thinking. Additionally, research by McKinsey predicted that automation will displace roughly 800 million individuals by 2030.

As an entrepreneur, Christopher decided to take on this challenge and positively change education. He joined forces with Stephen Harris (Co-Founder & Chief Learning Officer) and Blair Maclaren (Co-Founder & Chief Operations Officer) to create Learnlife.

Learning from the best – visiting the most innovative schools worldwide

Wanting to learn from the best, the founders embarked on a journey of visiting 100 of the most innovative schools worldwide. Their mission led them to explore different learning methodologies and understand what makes these schools exceptional.

Based on their research, they curated a list of 25 of the most impactful learning methodologies that deliver a truly personal, 21st-century learning experience. Combined with evidence from over 600 research reports and input from international learning innovators, Learnlife’s Elements of Learning Innovation were created.

The Elements of Learning Innovation – a learning framework reshaping education

The Elements of Learning Innovation provides a learning framework that goes beyond traditional models. It recognises the critical role that learning within a positive community has and aims to develop happy, lifelong autonomous learners.

Containing 21 elements, the framework provides an agile roadmap for schools and learning communities to question themselves, map growth areas and start a transformational journey to update their vision and practices to the 21st century.

Their ELI provides an agile roadmap for implementing change in learning communities

The Elements are freely available to all and constantly scrutinised and enhanced by The Alliance – a global tribe of over 700 thought leaders and innovators from the education and business world united to activate a new way of learning.

A lighthouse of learning innovation opens in Barcelona

With a learning approach backed by research and science in place, it was time to put it into practice. And so, in 2018, the Urban Hub opened in Barcelona, enabling the framework to be experienced by lifelong learners and inspire change worldwide.

Designed for innovative 21st-century learning, the Urban Hub is equipped with state-of-the-art studios, expansive open spaces and adaptable furniture.

Starting with a small number of learners, interest quickly grew. Today, the Urban Hub is home to 130 children aged 11-18 experiencing full-time secondary programmes and hundreds of learners participating in afterschool and summer programmes.

The Eco Hub opens to expand Learnlife’s impact

Building on this success and wanting to advance Learnlife’s impact on more age groups, the Eco Hub opened in Castelldefels in 2021. Located on the beachfront, the Eco Hub is an innovation and sustainability centre built for learning in nature.

The Hub has grown rapidly, enabling 70 children aged 6-11 to experience personal learning on our primary programmes and welcoming children from the community onto our afterschool and summer programmes.

Their Barcelona Learn Hubs provide innovative learning spaces for over 200 children aged 6-18

A leading education innovation changing the face of education

With this success and the Elements of Learning Innovation inspiring change worldwide, Learnlife attracted much interest and attention.

Global policy maker OECD acknowledged how Learnlife’s ‘radical vision and smart strategies’ are transforming schooling, and in 2023, Learnlife was named as one of the top 100 global education innovations changing the face of education by The HundrED – high praise indeed!

Learnlife’s approach is recognised as a leading global education innovation as are changing education by The HundrED

While honoured by this recognition, we understand that impactful change can only be achieved through collaboration with and inspiration. So how do we do this? We empower others to create meaningful change by collaborating with schools and learning organisations.

Collaborating with schools to inspire and implement change

Over the past six years, we’ve united over 27,000 educators and learning innovators and supported hundreds of education leaders to transform their learning communities. Through a range of professional services, we help public and private schools innovate and grow. Often this starts with visiting our Learn Hubs to gain inspiration, see learning innovation in action and make meaningful connections.

Learnlife supports schools to implement innovations and transform their communities

Our annual Inspire event is an excellent example of this. Educators and innovators from countries such as Spain, the UK, Dubai and Mexico spend two days touring our hubs, participating in expert workshops and gaining the practical skills to deliver change in their learning communities. Additionally, we welcome visitors throughout the year, and you can read the experiences of a recent visitor here.

Building a team is crucial in delivering change. For schools looking to recruit changemakers to deliver innovation, we help recruit and assess people. We’ve supported schools like REAL School in Budapest to recruit their dream team from scratch and helped schools in Spain, Australia and Switzerland find top talent.

With a vision and team in place, our Learn Teams help schools implement a learning innovation. This can involve using passion-based learning to create engaging and meaningful learning experiences or rethinking classrooms to foster creativity and collaboration.

Escola Acesco is one school benefiting from implementing passion-based learning and a maker culture in their school. For the past two years, we’ve helped them modernise their approach and achieved “a kind, profound and persistent change for the school”, as put by Luís González Rodríguez, Director at Acesco.

Our work doesn’t end with implementation. To support schools to continue on their transformational journey, we provide professional development and training tailored to their specific needs.

Our Pedagogical Days guide teams to transform, such as creating a roadmap for change to supporting learning experience and programme design. At Stromberg-Gymnasium in Germany, we’ve delivered workshops to support their Future Skills project and help their team implement the deeper learning methodology.

For educators ready to make the shift from standardised teaching to a learner-centred guiding approach, our Learning Guide training helps them get there. Available to groups and individuals, trainees grow their skills as educators who curate learning and co-design learning experiences that empower learners.

For educators such as Leonardo Gonçalves, founder of Casa Da Vida School, Learning Guide training has supported and inspired their team and ‘connected them with the future of education.’

They are growing a community learning innovators as part of a global movement to positively impact education

Sharing, inspiring and growing together

To deliver positive change and empower children to bring their passions to light and feel supported in becoming who they want to be, we have a responsibility to share, inspire and grow with others.

Empathetic collaboration is one of our five values, and as we look towards the future of education and schools, we remain focused on building a community of changemakers and inspiring all people to love learning and flourish in life.

We have exciting plans for the year ahead and look forward to sharing the next chapter of our story with you as we positively transform education together!

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