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Workplace personalised learning environment for the development of employee's technical communicative skills

Funded by the ESRC/EPSRC Technology-Enhanced Learning programme
Award number RES-139-25-0312

This project explored the potential of a workplace personalised learning environment (WPLE) for developing the UK workforce in technical communicative skills (TCS). These short-supply skills have two key components: the ability to communicate effectively with diverse audiences, and having an awareness of the models that underpin the ICT systems used in the workplace, and sufficient understanding to be able to interpret their outputs. There is a limited capacity among trainers and managers to recognise the skills requirement for TCS, and to develop training. There is therefore a need to assist employees, trainers and managers in understanding what TCS involves, how it can be learned, and to evolve a framework for specifying an adaptive WPLE that can assist the upskilling of employees.

The project involved researchers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds (educational research, employment research, technology-enhanced learning, and computer science) and a range of users concerned with workplace learning, who worked together to reach a consensus on the design of a WPLE. The design focusses on one potential area of application, career guidance services, which involve the provision of advice and guidance about career opportunities and the financial planning needed to support career goals. The design is intended to have a flexibility for adaptation to other kinds of service-oriented workplaces where TCS are important (e. g. financial services), and to educational settings where the development of TCS is a priority (e.g. further education in the context of financial literacy).

During the six months duration of the research, we conducted a programme of five interdisciplinary seminars. One of these was a major user consultation event involving user participants from two service industry sectors (information advice and guidance services [IAG], and financial services). We also conducted a programme of interviews and focus groups with users in IAG services to gather feedback on the ideas and prototypes for the WPLE developed by the research.

The developmental research, and the WPLE design scheme, are described in three research outputs:

  • Scoping Report A: The Nature of Technical Communicative Skills and an Outline of a Career Guidance and Financial Planning 'Workplace Personalised Learning Environment'
  • Scoping Report B: Requirements Description and Specification of a Career Guidance and Financial Planning ‘Workplace Personalised Learning Environment’ System
  • Software Demonstrator: a web-based mock-up to present the scope of the envisaged learning resources and system functionalities




Project duration: 2006-2007

IER project team:

Alan Brown

Jenny Bimrose

Sally-Anne Barnes

Maria de Hoyos

Lucy Marris

Project partners: London Knowledge Lab: Institute of Education and Birkbeck College

Celia Hoyles

Richard Noss

Phillip Kent

Alex Poulovassilis

George Magoulas



 Software development consultant:

Graham Attwell, Pontydysgu