Learning communities reimagine the future of education

Catalonia (Barcelona)

To stay ahead in an increasingly automated world, we’ll need to be more human than ever.

You’ve probably heard the stats – By 2030, 800 million people will need to reskill or be out of a job due to automation, and 65% of children entering primary school today will end up working in jobs that don’t yet exist.

Two teenagers sitting at a desk and talking while looking at the computer

Scary, isn’t it?

What’s even scarier is that most schools – the very institutions that are supposed to prepare us for the future – haven’t changed since our parents (or even grandparents!) first carried school bags. Our children often sit in the same wooden desks and are forced to memorise and regurgitate the same facts that, let’s face it, are ultimately forgotten days or months after ‘getting the grade.’

Children are not being prepared for a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) world, and teachers lack training on methodologies for 21st-century learning and workplaces.

So why have technology and society undergone such massive transformations, while education systems globally have struggled to keep up?

About 5 years ago, Learnlife, an ambitious Learntech organisation with an aim to positively change education globally, embarked on a quest to find an answer to this very question. Along the way, they discovered innovative outlier schools and changemakers that inspired Learnlife to build and unleash a new Learning Paradigm to the world. This new way of learning is personal, promoting self-awareness, positive relationships, agency, self-direction & self-determination, and the belief in lifelong learning.

More than simply a learning model, the Personal Learning Paradigm 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.

Today, Learnlife is on its way to achieving its mission of empowering 100 million lifelong learners, 5 million Learning Guides and 100,000 Learnhub teams to take on a fresh approach to learning by 2030. It’s doing this by facilitating the creation of learning ecosystems: Learnhubs, programmes, training, and technology that promote a positive change in education.

room inside Learnlife hub with banners and a box saying 'disruption'

Enter the future of education (and Learnlife’s Urban Hub.)

So if not schools, what exactly are Learnhubs? Christopher Pommerening, Learnlife Founder & Chief Empowerment Officer, describes them as “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, Learnlife has launched two Learnhubs in Barcelona (also its headquarters) — the Urban Hub and the Eco Hub — where over 170 full-time learners aged 6-18 have discovered a better way to learn. “Both Learnhubs have the future in mind, with slightly different focuses”, Christopher says:

“The Eco Hub is a sustainability and innovation centre where community-driven people can gather to take action to protect this planet, while the Urban Hub boasts studios such as 3D Printing & Coding, Multimedia, Music, Fashion, Culinary, Woodworking, and more.”

The Eco Hub in Castelldefells, seen from the outside on a sunny day

Welcome to the Eco Hub.

To stay ahead in an increasingly automated world, though, Learnlife realises we’ll need to be more human than ever. That’s why the focus of its programmes is not only on hard skills but also on cultivating creative and effective communicators and resilient, agile and thriving lifelong learners who are collaborative changemakers with an understanding of the world’s natural, numeric and social systems.

By the time they’ve graduated, Learnlife learners have facilitated dozens of meetings and workshops. They can monitor their progress, lead teams, and take on real projects that make a difference. They work collaboratively to solve problems both inside and outside Learnlife. Christopher puts it this way:

“They ultimately leave our programmes with the skills really needed to thrive throughout their lifetimes.”

Now, through proven daily practice in these first Learnhubs, Learnlife is working with learning communities worldwide in their transition from standardised education to a personal learning framework.

The organisation offers a knowledge transfer through learning services and training to those wanting to open their own Learnhub and to existing educational organisations seeking to embark on a transformational journey. Learnlife has also released an MVP (Minimal Viable Product) of what they call “LearninX”, a digital Personal Learning Platform, where learners engage with experiences, feedback, and outputs, to ultimately form a competency-based Learning Vitae.

Learnlife believes that the systemic change the education sector needs to meet the changing needs of our planet and future can only be possible through community and are providing an opportunity to be part of something transformative.

AtlasAction: Want to participate in Learnlife’s mission? Here’s your chance! They recently launched an equity crowdfunding campaign and you can make a difference in the future of education by investing as little as 15€. Click here to learn more and invest. Note: Capital at risk. Invest aware.

Read more ► Learnlife was mapped by David Price in his AtlasChart Top 5 – a journey through five schools doing things differently from Cambodia to Catalonia.

Submitted by

David Price

Written by

Learnlife team (09 March 2022)

Project leader

Christopher Pommerening, Founder & Chief Empowerment Officer, Blair MacLaren, Co-founder & Chief Operations Officer & Stephen Harris, Co-founder & Chief Learning Officer

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