Transformative learning through Lyfta: Classroom impact through cinematic learning from life

Content Team
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Every educator wants learning experiences to be impactful and authentic. In our increasingly complex, interconnected world, it’s also what young people are asking for and need. At Lyfta, we harness the power of learning from life, for life, through cinematic, immersive human stories to cultivate meaningful connections, understanding of others, self-discovery and action for positive change.
Children participating in a Lyfta lesson

We want to help schools help their young people to thrive in all ways and all levels in a fast changing and increasingly uncertain world. As a company dedicated to improving student outcomes, we take pedagogy and evidence informed practice extremely seriously and are incredibly proud of the transformative journeys Lyfta facilitates in schools and academy trusts across the UK and beyond. In 2023 we were delighted to be recognised at the prestigious Bett Awards receiving the Award for `Transformational Impact’, an award we were also shortlisted for in 2024.

Below we look at some of the ways the platform is being used and the impact being driven through our amazing teacher community.

Shifting perspectives and building empathy

In studies in schools like Akeley Wood Senior School, Salcombe Prep School, Colchester Prep and High School, and Quinton House School, Lyfta's impact on agency, character, and virtues is clear. Student reflective journals (completed regularly after Lyfta sessions) and pupil voice questionnaires showed:

  • 75% said sessions strengthened understanding and raised awareness of new themes.
  • Many felt hearing stories from different cultures changed their thinking.
  • Students could identify virtues (especially resilience and kindness), aligning with character education. 
  • Students quantitatively showed higher confidence in meeting with people from different cultures, countries and backgrounds to themselves. A finding which correlates with earlier findings from an extensive Tampere University study which found that Lyfta helps to reduce learners’ social anxiety around meeting people from different cultural backgrounds.
  • 70%+ felt Lyfta would positively impact their broader learning - appreciating gaining knowledge, empathy, critical thinking and future aspirations. 
  • Students emphasised the importance of cross-cultural understanding, respect and recognising shared humanity.
  • Students gained awareness of cultural differences, environmental issues and resilience.
  • Salcombe students, for example, highlighted memories of helping animals and environmental action, indicating a strong emotional resonance. 
  • Surveys reported a 25% increase in confidence in meeting people from different cultures than at the start of their Lyfta learning experience.
  • Colchester students (Yrs 6-9) recalled environmental protection, women's rights and gratitude - reflecting engagement with diverse global values.

Evidence showed that Lyfta fosters holistic learning and cultural understanding, whilst highlighting the need for guided reflection and follow-up to maximise meaning and transformative experiences.

"Students are very clear - they’re very confident about talking about their learning on Lyfta. They regularly talk about the different cultures, the perspectives that they’ve learnt… not just that, they also talk about the skills base that they’ve gained."

oliver king
Headteacher, Upton court grammar
Supporting personal development for thriving in a changing world

Upton Court Grammar School

Upton Court Grammar School's experience with Lyfta highlights its role in personal development. Students, from Year 7 to 12, expressed confidence in talking about their Lyfta experiences, citing benefits such as learning about other perspectives and cultures. The immersive platform provided a unique space for students to step outside their comfort zones, engage with diverse perspectives, and actively contemplate positive change.

  • 76% of students said they felt confident to talk about the learning gained from Lyfta, 90%+ of these gave examples of benefits
  • Most frequent rating for categories of ‘personal development’ and ‘reflective skills’ was 8/10

Lyfta at Upton Court Grammar School

Pontefract Academies Trusts 

At Pontefract Academies Trust, Lyfta has enabled students to learn about a huge range of topics and themes and develop vital skills and values they need to thrive in our modern world. 

Lyfta has helped bridge the gap between students' norms, perspectives and understandings of the myriad of ways of living, being and thriving in an increasingly complex, uncertain and interconnected world.

Tom Fay, Director of School Improvement at Pontefract Academies Trust talking about the impact of Lyfta

Lyfta is helping our kids learn to read faster, learn to do their different subjects at a better rate. It's allowing them to write for longer. It's allowing them to process mathematics for longer. It's allowing them to talk about the things you'd want them to talk about with confidence and fluency in front of an Ofsted inspector… healthy eating, finance, those of different faiths, those of different cultures, healthy bodies, healthy minds… about all the things you want your kids to to know about.

tom fay
director of school improvement, pontefract academies trust

The Lyfta lead at the trust conducted learning walks and interviews to assess the impact of Lyfta on broadening the students' horizons. Her line of enquiry was 'to monitor the impact Lyfta is having on the cultural capital of the children'. During her visits, she observed classes from reception to yr 6.

Through her analysis, Emily concluded that “pupils show a strong knowledge of global issues and their impact on the lives of others” and that “students can recollect the places they have been and the people they have met, as well as the impact this has had on them.”

Pupil voice at Orchard Head has shown that Lyfta is providing children with additional essential knowledge needed to be educated citizens. It is also stretching the 'total learned experience of the child' beyond the learning that takes place within lessons. This is supported with the following quotes from students.

I like Lyfta because I have never left England before so it is exciting to see places that I don't get to. We see places we have never even heard of.

Lyfta teaches us about respect for other people and the world. Some videos challenge our expectations and stereotypes.

students talking about lyfta

In a survey conducted with the children using Lyfta across two primary schools in Pontefract Academies Trust:

  • 100% felt that it was having an impact on their learning.
  • 64% said that they felt it was having an excellent impact on their learning. 

Closing gaps and boosting motivation in writing

Egerton Primary School has seen remarkable improvements in writing skills, especially among students assessed as not meeting national targeted writing scores or labelled as 'reluctant' writers. Surveys conducted before and after a Lyfta writing unit revealed increased excitement for writing (73% said Lyfta made them excited to write), with a significant shift in attitudes towards previously challenging aspects. 

Teachers reported increased engagement and focus from struggling writers and the real-world hook and authentic purpose provided by Lyfta played a pivotal role in engaging struggling writers (84% said they were excited to meet new people through Lyfta.)

Bringing the world to those with limited access

At Rivermead School, Lyfta's impact extended to students aged 16-19 with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and complex additional learning needs. 

Lyfta served as a gateway to the world, offering students the opportunity to explore diverse cultures and topics while reinforcing essential skills like literacy (through reading subtitles) and hygiene and to catalyse conversations.


  • Students gained vocabulary, confidence in sharing opinions, and cultural knowledge.
  • Lyfta helped build reading skills, as students had to infer meanings from subtitles. 
  • The multisensory aspects of the storyworlds, like background sounds and languages, supported learning. 
  • Students were emotionally connected with the stories, increasing their confidence. 
  • Storyworlds presented opportunities to extend learning with complementary activities like bread-making after exploring a bakery in Afghanistan for example.
  • Global connections were made accessible without leaving students' safe space.
  • Experiences gained through use of Lyfta reduced anxiety about unfamiliar settings.

Teacher testimonials emphasise the positive impact on students' emotional skills, global awareness, and confidence. Lyfta emerged as a powerful tool for inclusive education, bringing the world into the classroom and fostering a sense of connection without the need for students' to leave their safe space.

I’ve loved seeing their reactions and behaviour during our Lyfta sessions. They love discovering a new world and listening, looking around. They are very respectful of other cultures and it is lovely to hear them discuss these later on that week or even a few weeks later

rivermead school

At Swiss Cottage School, Development and Research Centre, Lyfta has also been chosen as one of the school’s EdTech resource partners and most pathway curricula now includes Lyfta learning at some point. A working group of teachers at the school have been innovating and piloting different ways of making Lyfta’s multi sensory experiences work for a huge variety of unique student needs.

Inspiring students to take action

The Djanogly Learning Trust, consisting of eight academies with a linguistically diverse student population, faced the challenge of nurturing cultural capital and empowering students from disadvantaged backgrounds to create positive changes in their community. In response, the Trust implemented Lyfta in September 2021. 

A year after incorporating Lyfta, the academy noted improved engagement, community involvement, teamwork, leadership skills, and enhanced attendance among students.

Students at Djanogly Sherwood have been inspired to take action through their experiences with Lyfta. After they experienced the Beachcomber storyworld, which explores plastic waste in the ocean, the students set up a Climate Action Group demonstrating a sustained commitment to making lasting changes. Sustainability linked storyworlds set in the Peru, the Philippines, the USA, China and this one in the UK, have been used by a range of schools to help young people see the connections between global issues and local action - for example St Laurence CofE Primary in Nottingham used Lyfta to launch a school-wide engagement with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a number of student-led action projects within the community.

Over the following months, Djanogly students were inspired to form a Global Goals Group to discuss sustainability initiatives and link projects to the SDGs, organising a Global Goals Day, and actively involving their community, local councillors, and even their local MP. 

As the impact of Lyfta became evident, the academy expanded its efforts, involving students in curriculum changes, fostering confidence in their backgrounds, improving attendance, and empowering them to become agents of change in their community. 

The success prompted the Djanogly Learning Trust to embed Lyfta further into the curriculum, with students leading groups and assemblies, ultimately creating a sense of belonging and empowerment among the students across the entire trust.

Data from EdTech Impact, teachers report
Teachers value Lyfta and the impact it makes in the classroom

We are delighted with the feedback we receive from a wide range of educators across different settings. Independent reviews on EdTech Impact provide a 5 star rating and strong impact across a number of measures.

Conclusion: Lyfta's Transformative Impact

Lyfta's immersive experiences have demonstrated a transformative impact across various classroom settings. From character development and cultural understanding to improved writing skills and global awareness, Lyfta is a catalyst for meaningful learning experiences. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the data collected over the last two years has been that which has shown how important Lyfta learning experiences are for shifting thinking and/or deepening understanding, and that the educational resources accompanying storyworld content  enable metacognition and greater student understanding of their own learning and transformation.

In an increasingly complex and uncertain world, Lyfta offers a powerful and accessible tool to navigate diverse perspectives, build empathy, and contribute to positive global change.

Lyfta's teaching approach is grounded in learning theories and evidence-based practices, particularly influenced by constructivist and neurocognitive theories. Our understanding of digital immersive education grows as we learn from our school partnerships. For effective learning and to prevent stereotyping or tokenism, educators must apply techniques such as scaffolding, metacognition, and critical digital literacy at various stages of the student journey.

Lyfta's Theory of Learning

As we reflect on the impact reports and stories from schools partnering with Lyfta, it seems evident that the cinematic, learning from life, brought into classrooms in this way, really is shaping young hearts and minds for a better world.

We’d love the opportunity to discuss with you how Lyfta can make an impact in your setting. Please book a call with the team.

Case Study
Social Emotional Learning
Character & Values
Cultural Capital
Diversity Equity Inclusion
Personal Development