home   search  vre  contact  sitemap

Research Briefing

Plain English Summary

Research Summary

Intentions Poster

Outcomes Poster

Full Report


Project Website



Phase III Research Network:


Techno-Mathematical Literacies in the Workplace (2003 - 2007)

This project has now completed. Major outputs include:


Prof Celia Hoyles
Prof Richard Noss
Dr Phillip Kent
David Guile
Dr Arthur Bakker


Project Summary

A crucial change in many workplaces has come about due to the advent of an overwhelming ICT presence. A phenomenon of the first wave of computerisation of workplaces was the trend towards deskilling. This is now increasingly accompanied, across all sectors of manufacturing and service industries, by the need for upskilling, that is to understand something of what lies behind the technology. This typically involves making sense of the production process in ways that go beyond the simple "numeracy" of traditional calculation and estimation.

What is required is something new: we call them “techno-mathematical literacies” – fusions of mathematical, ICT and workplace-specific competencies that demand an ability to deal with models and to take decisions based on the interpretation of abstract information.

The project aimed to:

  • identify, characterise and compare the “techno-mathematical literacies” required by managers in at least three different industrial and commercial sectors;
  • iteratively design, evaluate and disseminate - in collaboration with sector managers, professional bodies and college-based trainers - a set of multimedia-based training modules to help time-served employees acquire appropriate techno-mathematical literacies;
  • evolve a set of measures for evaluating the learning outcomes of the modules from the point of view both of individual and group learning;
  • contribute to the development of Activity Theory through the analysis of actual workplace activities and epistemologies, and to concretise the notion of boundary-crossing activity through design and evaluation of the training modules;
  • work with professional institutions, training organisations and Sector Skills Councils to address issues concerning the forms of qualification and accreditation that should be made available to employees that will support progression for time-served employees, and strengthen existing forms of work-based training.


return to top
homepage ESRC