Explaining Lyfta: What is a storyworld?

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Explaining Lyfta
Storyworlds are at the heart of Lyfta, allowing students to enter a new person’s world. In this blog, Content Producer, Beth Simpson, and User Experience Lead, Yiota Demetriou discuss how storyworlds can be a powerful tool for learning.
Malte from storyworld Beekeeper's Garden
Malte from storyworld Beekeeper's Garden

Immersive learning

The Lyfta Globe
The Lyfta Globe
A Lyfta storyworld is an immersive learning environment where students and teachers can explore real human stories through 360° spaces and soundscapes, high-quality documentary films, and rich media articles. Storyworlds are at the heart of Lyfta, offering learners intimate windows into the lives and lessons of people from across the globe.
You can find storyworlds on the Lyfta globe, in the student interface of the platform, or through the search bar in the teacher interface.

On entering a storyworld, you are taken into a fully spherical 360° environment, able to see and interact with the scene from all possible views. Each storyworld is made up of a variety of 360° scenes that the learner is able to journey through. We often start in someone's home space, where we can watch a short film about them, and then venture out to the different spaces explored in the film, learning about their culture, work and context along the way.

Teleport into another person's world

From storyworld The Fashion Photographer
From storyworld The Fashion Photographer
Storyworlds allow students to meet a range of people, from a wildlife conservationist in the mountains of the Philippines to a fashion photographer in her studio in Nairobi. By navigating their way around these environments, meeting the people in them and hearing their stories, students become exposed to a huge diversity of experiences and ways of understanding the world.
The integration of space, sound and story in a Lyfta storyworld teleports the viewer into another person's world, allowing them to identify with other lives, social situations, cultures and ideas. In this way, storyworlds allow for both an exploration of our differences and a fundamental recognition of the ways that we connect through real-life, everyday experiences. This fosters empathy, paving the way for authentic and meaningful learning experiences.

The power of immersive storytelling

Storytelling is inherently immersive in its ability to transport people into lives and worlds far beyond their personal and cultural contexts. Throughout history, storytelling has been a way to cultivate community, build trust and work towards social change. In telling and listening to stories, barriers between people are overcome and dialogues within and between communities are kick-started.

The potential of storytelling in education lies in the fact that stories can tap into the empathetic parts of our brains (Zak 2014). When complex information is conveyed in a personal manner, engagement with the subject increases and emotions are stimulated.

Technology heightens the immersion of storytelling by allowing for multi-sensorial insights into peoples' lives (Demetriou 2018). Storyworlds give teachers and students the chance to hear, see, read and engage with people and their stories around the world. They make the world accessible, imaginable and real. This process of identification increases the potential for empathetic connection and creates truly unique, compelling and impactful learning experiences.
Demetriou, P. A, (2018) 'Imagineering' mixed reality (MR) immersive experiences in the postdigital revolution: innovation, collectivity, participation and ethics in staging experiments as performances. International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media, 14, 169-186.
Zak, P. J, (2014) 'Why your brain loves good storytelling', Harvard Business Review. Available at: https://hbr.org/2014/10/why-your-brain-loves-good-storytelling (Accessed 1 February 2022).
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