Research

Read some of the latest national and international research and evaluation reports about workplace literacy and numeracy.

Reach of the Workplace Literacy and Numeracy Fund in 2020 and the impact of the Employer-led strand (Anne Alkema, 2021)

As with previous years the Skills Highway team has looked at what has happened for employees and workplaces during workplace literacy and numeracy programmes. In 2020, employers continue to take a workforce development approach and there is evidence of:

  • employees’ literacy and numeracy practices improving when they use them at work, for example, speaking in meetings, filling out forms, writing reports, and weighing and measuring
  • some wellbeing and social outcomes for employees, but less evidence of economic outcomes for them
  • employers valuing the knowledge and skills employees have developed and the resulting changes seen in workplaces
  • employees who learnt online developed their digital skills and digital literacy along with their literacy and numeracy skills.

While there is evidence of improvements in literacy and numeracy practices it is not possible to ascertain improvements in literacy and numeracy proficiency as insufficient data are supplied on statistically significant gain.

Read the full article online

Technology-enabled learning in the foundation education sector (Anne Alkema 2021)

This report looks into how Aotearoa New Zealand education organisations, employers and learners were using digital technology in literacy and numeracy learning programmes from July to November 2020.

Download the summary report

Download the full report

Foundation Level Workplace Training Programmes (Anne Alkema, 2020)

The TEC supports employers to run literacy and numeracy programmes in their workplaces. We’ve now looked across five years of information about what happens in these programmes and know that there is value to both employees and employers. Employees feel better about themselves, connect better at work with their peers and supervisors and are interested in carrying on with training. They also transfer what they have learnt over to their family and community lives.  

Read the full article online.

Reach of Workplace Literacy and Numeracy Fund 2019 and impact of the Employer-led strand (Anne Alkema and Dr Nicky Murray, 2020)

This report uses data education providers and employers supplied to the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) on the uptake of the Workplace Literacy and Numeracy (WLN) Fund in 2019. This includes:

  • quantitative data from 19 Tertiary Education Organisations (TEOs), [17 Private Training Establishments (PTEs) and two Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITPs)]. These TEOs ran 1540 programmes in 2019 with 5086 employees funded through the TEO-led strand
  • quantitative and qualitative data from 34 of 56 employers who ran programmes for 1396 employees from mid-2018, and throughout 2019 and who submitted final reports prior to the middle of March 2020
  • qualitative data from success stories written on EWLN programmes run during 2019.

Read the full article online.

Policy Interventions and Alternative Learning Pathways: Foundation Level Workplace Training Programmes (Anne Alkema, 2019)

This paper, written for the 2019 Pan-Commonwealth Forum 9 (PCF9), outlines the scale of the adult literacy and numeracy issue in New Zealand and describes a policy intervention designed to upskill employees in workplaces to help resolve the issue for them. This is the Workplace Literacy and Numeracy (WLN) Fund which enables around 7000 employees a year to complete a 25 to 80-hour learning programme, usually in their workplace and in work time. The paper also describes what happens in workplaces while programmes are underway and the short-term wellbeing, social, and economic outcomes that occur for individual employees. In this context, literacy and numeracy relates to the way in which adults use skills that involve reading, writing, speaking, listening, and mathematics in everyday life. It also includes digital skills in relation to how adults engage and interact with Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Overall these skills are those that individuals need for learning, life, and work in the 21st Century.

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Open and Distance Learning TVET Programms in New Zealand (Anne Alkema and Terry Neal, 2019)

A report has recently been released by the Commonwealth of Learning in Canada. It was commissioned to support and promote the combination of open and distance learning with workplace-based learning and work. The research is built around three New Zealand case studies; the BCITO; Careerforce; and the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand (OPNZ). 

Read the full article online.

Reach of Workplace Literacy and Numeracy Fund 2018 and impact of the Employer-led strand (Anne Alkema and Dr Nicky Murray, 2019)

This report uses data supplied by the Tertiary Education Commission on the uptake of the Workplace Literacy and Numeracy (WLN) Fund in 2018. This report follows four previous studies on the WLN Fund and where possible, comparisons are made to the findings from the Skills Highway (2018) report. This year, the data has also been analysed against a wellbeing, social and economic framework.

Read the full article online.

Enhancing and measuring adult literacy and numeracy progress: Exploring practices, outcomes measures, and quality indicators (Ako Aotearoa, 2018)

This document adds to the New Zealand adult literacy and numeracy infrastructure by outlining two practices measurement tools that can be used to support learners’ literacy and numeracy development. It presents a set of literacy and numeracy measures that reflect learners’ engagement with practices in their daily or weekly routines. They are designed to complement the Literacy and Numeracy for Adults Assessment Tool (LNAAT), which measures proficiencies, by providing a more detailed view of learners’ engagement with practices in their daily lives. The purpose of doing so is two-fold. Firstly, the measures will allow learners themselves to identify where they may want to improve their practices and allow them to track their progress over time. Secondly, the measures will provide information to educators on how to implement actions to support their learners in this process. Thus, the measures are designed to directly promote learner agency and improvements in their daily lives.

Read the full article online.

Socio-Economic Impact of Tasmania's Investment in Adult Literacy and Numeracy

If you want some interesting figures about the impact of literacy and numeracy programmes on adult learners, then this recently released report - 26TEN STRATEGY: The Socio-Economic Impact of Tasmania’s Investment in Adult Literacy and Numeracy – will be of interest to you.

This is a Return on Investment (ROI) study that looks at the impact of the 26TEN grants and the activities of one of the member organisations, Libraries Tasmania in 2018-2019. Here programmes were delivered to 860 adults in 2018-2019. Adults attended 50 sessions on average (at an average of 80 minute sessions), which were delivered by volunteer tutors. In addition adults then spent, on average, 4.3 hours a week in self directed learning.

The research estimates a return of $27.2 million for the investment of $5.3 million, “This was the sum of productivity benefits (enjoyed by employers) worth $22.3 million and civic benefits (enjoyed by individuals) valued at $4.9 million” (p. 4).

“Importantly, the 26TEN Strategy would not exist without the Tasmanian Government’s investment of $4.1 million in 2018-19; and it is this investment that has motivated the additional $1.2 million of community co-contributions and $1.3 million of volunteer labour. On that basis, the net benefit gain of between $22.0 million and $45.6 million represents a healthy return of between 6.6 and 12.3 on the original investment by the State” (p. 32).

Read the full article online