DISCUSS - European Platform for Communities of practice in Lofelong Learning
DISCUSS was a project funded within the European Commsions's Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP) KA4 strand and was 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 was informed by the concept of boundary objects and third spaces (Engström 2001.)
It was designed according to the seven principles for cultivating communities of practice (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.
Several reports concerning the development of the platform were published during the lifetime of the project, and those involving University of Glasgow staff are cited within the publications section of this summary. The work of the project has led to the development of a sustainable platform for lifelong learning actors in Europe, and it has almost 1000 members. The Discuss Community of Practice for Lifelong Learning Platform can be found at this link.
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)
Observatory for Lifelong Learning (Romania),
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
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
The consortium developed 4 electronic newsletters, published io the project website in all partners' languages. 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.
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.
The work of DISCUSS has been sustained with the Discuss Community of Practice in Lifelong Learning Platform which has almost 1000 members.
Associated blogs or Twitter feeds
DISCUSS Community of Practice in Lifelong Learning Platform