The Institute for virtual and real learning in the area of adult education at the University of Ulm (ILEU e.V., registered association) was the coordinator of the European Learning Partnership ODE (Open doors for Europe) which was funded by the Sokrates Program Grundtvig 2 of the European Commission. The learning project started in August 2004 and was designed for three years. Partners were Universities of the Third Age from Lublin and Lodz (Poland), Alicante (Spain) and Vicenza (Italy). In Germany the ILEU e.V. cooperated with the association Virtual and Face-to-face Learning and Competence Network for Seniors(ViLE) and the working group European Contacts of the Center for General Academic Continuing Education (ZAWIW) of Ulm University.
The learning partnership was based on the varied experience of the participating institutions. Experience indicated that seniors often do not speak foreign languages which would facilitate accessing other countries and cultures. Therefore other instruments were to be found that could work as Door Openers for Europe in order to strengthen the preparedness for encounters with people from other European countries.
„Door Openers“ could be: knowledge about key situations, themes, words, rituals, songs, day-to-day manners etc. The ODE-project groups were to define „Door Openers“ for their respective country/language/culture and develop materials which were presented on the websites of the project group. At two European partner meetings per year the materials were tested for their usability which was the basis for further development or modification.