Funded by the ESRC/EPSRC Technology-Enhanced Learning programme, November 2006 - April 2007
(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:

  • Software Demonstrator: a web-based mock-up to present the scope of the envisaged learning resources and system functionalities. Click on the following to launch:

The Research team

London Knowledge Lab: Institute of Education and Birkbeck College

Institute for Employment Research, University of Warwick

Software development consultant: Graham Attwell, Pontydysgu


For any enquiries about this project, please contact:

Dr Phillip Kent
London Knowledge Lab
Institute of Education
23 - 29 Emerald Street


Telephone: 020 7763 2156; Fax: 020 7763 2138

Website last updated: 02 August 2007