DISCUSS - European Platform for Communities of practice in Lofelong Learning

DISCUSS was a project funded within the EC's LLP KA4 and is led by Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich with CRADALL and PASCAL at the University of Glasgow as partners.

It sought to develop a state-of-the-art platform for communities of practice in lifelong learning, helping to foster dialogue and exchange between beneficiaries and users of the Lifelong Learning Program of the European Union. Further it aimed to bring together project actors, experts, stakeholders, decision makers and end users in a collaborative environment. Its specific aims were:

  • to build the organisational capacities, software tools and technical infrastructure for the communities of practice
  • to create excitement, relevance and value necessary to attract and engage members
  • to scaffold collaboration and mutual learning across communities of practice (CoPs)

DISCUSS built on a participatory approach, which ensured active involvement of the major target groups, and a complementary learning approach, based on the concept of expansive learning, which allows for scaffolding collaboration and learning across different CoPs. The project to this purpose will build on the concept of boundary objects and third spaces (Engström 2001.)

As for the design, the seven principles for cultivating communities of practice were adopted (Wenger 1998): 1. Design for evolution, 2. Open dialogue between inside and outside perspectives, 3. Inviting different levels of participation, 4. Development of both public and private community spaces, 5. Focus on value, 6. Combination of familiarity and excitement, 7. Creating a rhythm for the community.

Engeström, Y. (2001) Expansive learning at work: toward an activity theoretical reconceptualisation, Journal of Education and Work, 14(1), 133–156.

Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-66363-2.

PI and Co-Is - International Collaborators

PI - Mike Osborne  - University of Glasgow, School of Education

Co-I - Lesley Doyle - University of Glasgow, School of Education

Ludwig-Maximilians-University (Germany) – Lead organisation

Praxis und Wissenschaft GmbH (Germany)

NEXUS Europe (Ireland)

IDEC SA (Greece)

MENON (Belgium),

Observatory for Lifelong Learning (Romania),

Information Systems Management Institute (Latvia)


Start and End Date

2013 - 2015


Funder and Funding Amount

EC Lifelong Learning Programme – Key Activity 4, Project Number 543377-LLP-1-2013-1-DE-KA4-KA4MP €299,768


Related Publications

Doyle, L. (2014) Formation of a ‘starter’ VCoP for the DISCUSS platform. Discuss Working Paper 4. Munich: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität

Doyle, L. (2014) DISCUSS: Expansive Learning Approach. Discuss Working Paper 6b. Munich: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität

Preisinger-Kleine, R et al. (2014) European Platform for Communities of Practice in Lifelong Learning. Progress Report. Munich: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität

Eckert, T. et al. (2015) European Platform for Communities of Practice in Lifelong Learning. Final Report. Munich: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität


Project News

Electronic newsletter

The consortium developed 4 electronic newsletters, published io the project website in all partners language. It was sent to the mailing lists of the partners, in order to disseminate project’s achievements, activities and outcomes, keeping the target groups motivated and informed about the project progress.

Final conference

The partnership organised a European conference in Munich, Germany in 2015, with the aim to present DISCUSS to a wider audience of lifelong learning practitioners, activists and stakeholders.