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Understanding the System: Techno-Mathematical Literacies in the Workplace
£447,919, Economic and Social Research Council The widespread presence of IT systems has led to major changes in many industrial and commercial workplaces. Managers now need to make decisions on the basis of analysis and evidence from the IT systems, which require understanding something of the analytical models on which they are based. Compared with past requirements for general mathematical literacy in the workplace (being able to calculate and estimate), what is now required is something considerably more complex: "techno-mathematical literacies" (TmL) - fusions of mathematical, IT and workplace-specific competencies. Developing TmL is a major skills challenge facing UK industry and commerce. This project will design work-based training that aims to develop TmL skills, especially for time-served employees, based on a pilot group of companies in a range of industrial and commercial sectors. The project will begin by close observational study of the companies involved to identify the TmL used by managers. It will then design and test a system of multimedia-based training modules to develop TmL. In doing so, the project will address an often neglected area in lifelong learning, namely the continuing development of non-graduate employees. The modules and their assessment procedures will be widely disseminated to workplaces through professional institutions and post-16 teaching and training bodies, as exemplars of effective work-based training of TmL. By working with such organisations, the project will address issues regarding new forms of qualification and accreditation to support employees' career development, and to strengthen existing systems of work-based training.
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