Theoretical foundation and roadmap towards building Online Communities of Practice on Lifelong Learning
We would like to thank Lesley Doyle, Glasgow University, for developing a theoretical framework and roadmap towards the formation of DISCUSS starter Coommunities of Practice.
DISCUSS is designed to support lifelong learning communities of practice around the themes that project members and other interested individuals and organisations themselves identify as important for their work. However, to provide the Platform with an initial focus, the first CoPs are built around five thematic areas each of which reflects a strategic priority or topic of the European Lifelong Learning programme. Those themes are: 1) validation of lifelong learning; 2) improving the quality of adult education by promoting social and economic cohesion through improved adult learning outcomes 3) Creativity and innovation, including intergenerational learning, learning for senior citizens and family learning 4) Improving quality assurance systems in VET and 5) development of basic skills and the "transversal key competences" of reinforcing key competences, such as digital competence, and bridging the worlds of education and work.
The initial themes were selected along with the criteria of connectivity, complementarity and potential for cross-program synergies. In other words, whilst each of the project communities of practice coming under the theme could begin as a virtual community of practice in its own right, there is the facility for each to either grow and absorb others or join with them and become to become what might be called a ‘meta-thematic’ virtual community of practice. For example, the validation of informal learning has been made into a cross-cutting theme to make it a fundamental part of every aspect of the LLL program. Users are connected through this theme. The theme is integral also to “quality assurance in education & training“, and the drive to discuss "ensuring the quality of IFL validation“. In order to prepare for the take-off of the initial CoPs an open consultation of stakeholders and other projects will be conducted.
A 12-step process was outlined as a working example of moving from a CoP to a ‘starter’ VCoP with a project working to the theme of improving the quality of adult education by promoting social and economic cohesion through improved adult learning outcomes with potential for cross-programme synergies. The project is looking to link with other similar projects as a VCoP for development and sustainability of the project’s aims after its completion.
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