Frequently asked questions
Learnlife is a community of learning that is changing the future of education by providing people with the competencies and skills they need for a fast-changing world. We do this by facilitating the creation of learning ecosystems - including Learnhubs, programmes, training, learning experiences, and technology - that support, guide, and empower education innovation through a new lifelong learning paradigm.
In 2015, Learnlife embarked on a journey to explore best practices from over 100 innovative schools around the world. This journey captured the support of over 900 learning innovators, and inspired a quest to activate a new learning paradigm for personal learning.
The new Learning Paradigm for personal learning and lifelong learning is constantly evolving and consists of 21 elements divided into 3 clusters. that provide the framework required for preparing, implementing and sustaining change in a learning community.
Learnlife’s new Learning Paradigm promotes self-awareness, positive relationships, learner agency, self-direction, self-determination, and the pursuit of lifelong learning.
It is the framework needed to move away from standardised, instructional education born out of the industrial era, to purpose-inspired, personal learning made for a fast-changing world.
Learnhubs are lighthouses for learning innovation and the starting point to build an ecosystem around Personal Learning. They inspire educators, parents, political leaders and the wider community to ignite positive change in education.
Learnhubs are flexible, creative spaces housing digitally-enabled, multi-purpose studios, and can be implemented as a classroom-sized “Hubling”, or serve as a full-scale, cross-generational Hub totally replacing a traditional school environment.
In the last 3 years we launched two Barcelona-based Learnhubs - the Urban Hub and the Eco Hub - where over 170 full-time learners aged 6-18 have discovered a better way to learn.
Now, through proven daily practice in these first Barcelona Learnhubs, we are able to empower other learning communities in their transition from a standardised educational system to personal learning frameworks.
About our Learning Programmes
Learnlife is not just a school - we are a community of learning that prepares and empowers children and lifelong learners to thrive in the world of the future.
Our personal learning programmes, based on years of research and best practices of top educators from around the globe, guide learners through an individual journey of exploring their passions, skills, and needs, and take place at our physical Learnhubs in Barcelona and online from anywhere in the world.
In a traditional school, groups of students are funnelled through a similar system of rote learning, using the same content for everyone provided by a curriculum, and not everyone will want to engage with this content or learn the same way as their peers; this is where relational issues can occur and where control mindsets can emerge. Even teachers are controlled in this system through curriculum pressures and mandates.
At Learnlife, we shift the emphasis from control to empowerment, where learners develop their agency in deciding what they want to learn and how they want to learn it, supported by expert learning guides, who work diligently to ensure individual and collective growth.
Additionally, even the physical space is very different from a regular school -When you enter Learnlife, there is always a community host there ready to greet you. The spaces are colourful, welcoming and open. You will not see classrooms with closed doors, desks in rows with a teacher at the front. The furniture is all flexible, adapting to the particular needs of its users. There is no principal’s office, and actually no team member has a dedicated spot, everyone uses the common spaces freely. We also have coworkers and non-learning team members who use the space so there is a big diverse mix of people that learners get to interact with on a daily basis. There are no bells either, and the lockers/cubbies have no locks on them.
Our learning culture nurtures each individual by supporting them on their own unique, personal learning journeys. Also, placing positive relationships at the core of the community develops a supportive peer learning network. Learning guides design experiences that are unique to the immediate needs and interests of the learner and empower learners to develop agency to make decisions about their own learning; what they want to learn and how they want to learn it.
Both. Our full-time programmes run from Monday to Friday for 7 hours per day. We also have afternoon and Saturday morning programmes, available to both our full-time learners and the wider community.
We believe that young people learn best when working with others that perform at a similar pace. We do not believe in dividing groups based on age.
Learners join with a group based on their capacity as independent (or interdependent) learners. Thanks to our personal approach to learning, we find that students of different ages can work together constructively and productively.
Learners at Learnlife Barcelona and Castelldefels are allocated to one of three programmes:
- Young people who first need to grasp how to focus on a topic and work towards a goal. Part of the focus for this group is on how the brain learns and why we act the way we do.
- Young people who are motivated to learn but need guidance as they move towards more independent self-directed learning.
- Young people who are self-directed, motivated and independent learners.
The idea of subjects (disciplines) has been around for a long time. Thinking around mathematics and science date back from Greek times. The industrial model of schooling added in the notion of multiple separate subjects, all taught in isolation from each other. Since the advent of the internet, human knowledge has expanded exponentially. And at the same time, the lines between subjects have become increasingly blurred. The challenge for every society is to solve life’s complex problems - and they cannot be solved by people who think in linear ways.
With the focus on core concepts, skills and competencies, Learnlife draws from knowledge linked to multiple subjects. In some contexts (depending on the learner), core concepts for numeracy, literacy or other areas need to be understood as building blocks to deeper learning and skill development. When it comes to integrating knowledge, Learnlife designs and/or co-creates projects and quests that draw from multiple traditional subject areas, developing the capacity for creative problem solving and other key competencies.
Learnlife Urban Hub in Barcelona and Eco Hub in Castelldefels are predominantly English-speaking environments that respond to groups of learners that would like to conduct a certain number of activities in another language. For example, learners can divide into language groups to participate in our morning discussions around important community topics such as standards, trust and problem resolution. In this way the same conversation, facilitated by our Learning Guides, might take place simultaneously in Spanish, English and Catalan at different points around the Centre.
No it is not. We celebrate and incorporate Maria Montessori’s self-designed philosophy, but we are not a Montessori school. Our students learn and work at the rate that is most appropriate for them, and they use the latest interactive technologies, hands-on projects and learning methodologies to explore their interests and pursue their life’s passion.
Learners are not just playing, they all have weekly, monthly and cycle-long (approximately 3 month) schedules that they follow. Learners are often having fun while learning, which are the best circumstances to learn under, rather than stress, pressure and obligation. That said, they also learn that sometimes in life we must do things that we don’t love because they are a stepping stone or a necessity that will get us ahead
Besides the reading and maths that the learners do in the day to day learning experiences, there are extra workshops for those who are really interested in areas such as maths, reading, science and so on. Learners are also encouraged to start up their own clubs if they want to.
Read more about learning numeracy and literacy at Learnlife from our blog posts:
A 360° assessment is a process where a learner summarises and presents gains in their learning over a learning cycle, typically three months. It is normally attended by parents and guardians, a learning peer or two and a learning guide or two.
The 360° assessment follows a set pattern where the learner methodically talks about their major developments and learning. What is discussed is decided by the learner, yet it often covers transdisciplinary topics, projects, literacy, numeracy and anything else relevant. The learner selects and creates the format for themselves and presents it in their own unique, individual way. A 360° assessment is a powerful tool to support the development of learner agency and to forge a pathway towards self-determined learning.
360°s helps learners gain confidence by reflecting on how they have grown over the past 3 months. Learners not only talk about their achievements, but also reflect on their learning - what went well, what didn’t, how they could improve. They also learn to set goals for themselves and receive feedback. Because 360°s involve peers and parents/guardians, learners also come to understand that they have a support system they can always turn to.
We are embedding a culture of restorative justice, where learners and professionals - through community interventions from adults or peers - are encouraged to hold themselves accountable for any negative actions and behaviours and to restore equilibrium through restorative practices. This is supported by Carl Jung’s unconditional positive regard theory, where there is a basic acceptance and support of each individual regardless of what they say or do, and where the focus is on supporting individuals to recognise their own blind spots and to address them over time, supported by the learning community. We have also adopted the ALSUP model (Assessment of Lagging Skills and Unsolved Problems) developed by Ross Greene and focuses on developing individual emotional responses to guide positive behaviour, decision-making and action.
You can find a link to our full Child Protection Handbook on the footer of every page on Learnlife.com as well as at the link below.
Universities are changing so rapidly that it’s difficult to imagine what a higher education will look like in the next 5-10 years. Our goal is to prepare you to shine in the real world, whether or not you choose to go the university route.
At Learnlife, your project and performance portfolio combined with important critical thinking skills will allow you to go directly into the career path of your choice, first through internships and then through entry-level positions for which you will have been very well prepared.
University entry is starting to change all around the world. Some universities require standardised test results. Others are creating new ways of entry, based most commonly on portfolios and interviews. While we do not offer standard accreditation for universities, we will help you engage with online accredited secondary school and bachillerato programs should you decide to do so.
Learnlife has been engaged as a candidate school with NEASC since 2020 and is working towards gaining full accreditation status with this internationally recognised accrediting body.
Learnlife is a community of learners, not a traditional school. As such, it sits outside existing systems. This is deliberate, as we will not accelerate the development of new learning models from within the system. However, Learnlife is totally focused on developing the capacity of learners in their understanding of core concepts, skills and competencies. We want learners not only to love their learning experience, but also become passionate in areas of special interest. If families see the Spanish ESO Certificate as still relevant, then Learnlife Barcelona would recommend that they choose a traditional school. If you are more inclined to follow a combination of more future-relevant learning, as well as gaining an existing credential, then a number of Learnlife learners have balanced attendance at Learnlife Barcelona while undertaking an online school course and credentialing via international options.
A Learning Vitae (LV) is a new way of credentialing and an alternative to the traditional transcript format. It captures learner passions and purpose on a dynamic, user-owned digital platform. A Learning Vitae demonstrates the unique strengths and areas of improvement for each learner. It provides a digital record of learning that can be archived over many years. A learner can tailor the information to suit their future needs or to target further learning opportunities for themselves.
The Learning Vitae can be used as an evidence base providing further learning institutions and potential employees with information supporting a learner on the next steps in their lives. The LV provides a personalised, unique perspective of individuals which empowers each individual to depict who they are in a way that they wish to be portrayed.
The LV is not designed to demonstrate failure. It is an opportunity to provide an accurate and positive representation of the individual and serves as a record of progression throughout a learner’s journey. It is a portfolio of the skills, competencies, passions and interests of the learner which can help them prepare for the next steps in their lives.
About Hub Partners & Services
It depends to what extent you want to deliver the new learning paradigm. You don’t need to implement all of the changes you want at the same time. You could start small, with a self-study group of the 21 elements, or you could have some of your team trained by us, or if you want a bigger change you could transform your learning community into a Learnlife hub. There are many options available.
Definitely not. Hubs are unique and configured in a way that best serves their local community. Whether set in nature, in a busy city centre, occupying its own building or sharing a space, hubs come in all varieties. Learnlife-branded hubs do have some similarities, however, as they are all built with the 7 design principles in mind (Flexibility of furniture & space, Areas for collaborative learning & independent study, Embracing movement, Fostering of inspiration, creativity & socialisation, Technology, Biophilia, Lights & colours)
Our architect and space design team can help you with that when the time comes. You can choose to do a workshop and consultation, or have us more deeply involved in the design process.
Resourcing is bespoke to suit the immediate needs of the community. Those needs reflect the agility required to navigate an uncertain world. We look beyond human resources or physical resources like spaces, books, technology, tables and chairs to consider resourcing needs like time and create resourcing structures to suit immediate circumstances.
Our professional programmes are designed to support individuals and whole communities to transform their acumen in delivering learning experiences that are innovative and future-focused by training in using methodologies and practices that better prepare communities of learners for 21st century thriving.
Any individual or learning community interested in enhancing learning delivery and community culture can participate in these programmes.
Costs differ depending on the programme.
Other things you may be curious about
Help them find their purpose, which will fuel their motivation to want to learn and grow. Support them in developing a mindset that supports their own personal development. Make sure that the school they are at enables them to develop their unique passions and interests. Let them learn at a pace that suits them. Figure out the blockers to learning and help them create a positive narrative about themselves and their capacity to learn. And most importantly, focu on positive relationship building.
We help individuals find their purpose by providing personal learning opportunities to support them. We base our approach on the Japanese 'ikigai’ philosophy to support learners in finding purpose. Ikigai roughly translates to mean ‘a reason for being’ .
Finding purpose is a unique journey for every learner; some individuals know their purpose and are very clear on it and for others it can and will take time. We nurture learners by helping them find their ‘why’ for particular learning experiences ‘in-that-moment’. Learning is designed to offer a broad range of experiences that can expose learners to and guide them towards areas of passion that most interest them.
We use the four components of the Ikigai framework; what you are good at; what the world needs; what you can be paid for, and; what you love to form a basis from which learners can build their ‘why’ by working closely with learning guides to design learning experiences based on their unique interests. Our learning guides help learners define for themselves what they are interested in and support them in finding their purpose through a process of reflection, the outcome of which leads to purpose-inspired learning experiences, designed by learning guides, co-created with learners, or entirely designed by the learner.
We place high emphasis on growing positive relationships; it takes precedence over everything, even learning because learning is most effective when positive relationships are prioritised first. We move away from a traditional learning model where one teacher is essentially in charge of the behaviour and actions of a select group of learners. At Learnlife, the community is an open relational network where shared values are established, understood and acted out. There are regular opportunities for learners to develop their ability to grow positive relationships and emotional intelligence (EQ). Learning teams assist in supporting this personal growth trajectory. Growing a positive relational community network requires a deliberate shift in mindsets, moving from passive to active relational interactions.
A growth mindset is preferred over a fixed mindset. It enables intelligence to mature, embraces challenges, is resilient and grows in tandem with inspiration from a liked-minded community. The opposite is a fixed mindset, where people believe the opposite of the growth mindset - that intelligence is fixed and cannot be grown.
A growth mindset is exactly that; a mindset that fosters personal growth. Having a growth mindset is a daily choice and lifelong commitment.
Personal learning is not one on one, the learner is still part of the wider learning community with everyone else in their programme, and the other programmes, but they are being supported and guided wherever they are on their learning journey. They are free and encouraged to pursue their own passions and interests, alongside their peers who may or may not be pursuing the same.
See our blog posts on Personal Learning: