Hierachical planning can be improved by explanation-based learning (EBL) of abstract plans from detailed, successfully solved planning problems. Abstract plans, expressed in well-established terms of the domain, serve as useful problem decompositions which can drastically reduce the planning complexity. The learned plan abstraction must be valid for a class of planning cases rather than for a single case, to ensure their successful application in a larger spectrum of new situations. A hierarchical organization of the newly learned knowledge must be archieved to overcome the utility problem in EBL. This paper presents a new formal model of shared plan abstraction and the closely related explanation-based procedure S-PABS. Unlike other apporaches to plan abstraction, our model allows a total different terminology to be introduced at the abstract level. Finally, an unsupervised incremental procedure for constructing a hierachy of shared abstract plans is proposed, as a kind of concept formation over explanations.