You may not have come across the term 'Lifeworlds' before and so this page is a brief introduction.

We hope it will help you to understand a little more about why we chose Lifeworlds as our name.

What are Lifeworlds?
Lifeworlds Learning
because the world is bigger
About Us

We all have one thing in common. We're different.

In its simplest form, a 'lifeworld' refers to the unique blend of lived experience and received wisdom, or 'what we think we know', that we each bring (often sub-consciously) to any given situation.

Within this understanding, two people can share the same space and/or time and yet inhabit completely separate lifeworlds.

We have found that a useful way to consider your lifeworld is to think of it as a backpack – an invisible load that you carry around with you whether you want to or not.

You can’t shed the backpack, but you can unpack it, remind yourself of what you’re carrying, re-arrange it, and of course add to it. These ideas have developed out of work using and contributing to Open Spaces for Dialogue and Enquiry (OSDE).

For more detail about lifeworlds please see below.


To understand the world, we first have to understand ourselves.

We believe that a better understanding of our lifeworlds is essential to understanding and affecting change in the world. Much time is spent considering 'what we think' about any particular situation, but relatively little, if any, time given to considering 'why we think' what it is we think. Where has that thinking come from and what processes were used to process that thinking before it became the norm by which we understand, decode and replicate the world around us through relationships, choices and actions.

Exploring our lifeworlds through learning involves asking a range of exploratory questions of ourselves as the starting point of almost all learning encounters. This is not self-help though. It is more self-awareness. It is about raising thoughts that are taking place anyway into a more conscious state so that we can make greater use of them to challenge our own position, become more open to alternate perspectives, and assimilate our own lifeworlds with those of others in order to reach new understandings of self, others and the wider world.


The implications for learning

Current neuroscience and pyschology research suggests that we each talk to ourselves through our 'voices within' and that these conversations constitute the majority of our dialogue in any one day. This is significant for learning as it is instrumental in how we make sense of the world and therefore how we engage with the world and those we share it with.

Exploring learning through our lifeworlds is about creating safe spaces to more consciously engage the voices within and to unleash their analytical, critical, creative, and learning potential. It is to realise ourselves more fully both as learners and as educators and in doing so, enrich and enhance learning encounters. Key elements in this process include an engagement with values (motivations) and an explicit consideration of meaningfulness.

Whether you are in a school, organisational, or community setting, you will be faced with a complex and ever changing amalgam of lifeworlds (including your own) that together make up the palette with which you are able to create. If we better understand these lifeworlds then we are better able to navigate tensions and conflicts, and more likely to find mutually beneficial ways forward. It is not about a search for consensus, which is almost always about compliance to those with the greatest power, but more about an authentic understanding of the collective whole and a recognition of working dissensus as a healthy state of being and belonging.


In our lifeworlds we find ourselves, but also our way in the world

Our experience of supporting others to learn through their lifeworlds suggests that it is an empowering and liberating approach to handling the uncertainty and complexity that typifies our liquid modernity. Participants speak not of additional burden, but of new ways of seeing. They speak of being re-invigorated, motivated, inspired and exicted by the challenges ahead.


At Lifeworlds Learning we integrate aspects of learning through our lifeworlds into everything we do, whether a workshop engagement with pupils, or a prolonged relationship supporting an organisation through structural and/or strategic change.