WoLLNET Newsletter 2, May 09

Welcome to the second WoLLNET Newsletter!



What is the WoLLNET project?

The aim of the WoLLNET Project is to research, trial and develop a web-based, user-friendly ‘Training Impact Evaluation Toolkit’ to enable employers, providers and unions to evaluate the impact of workplace literacy, language and numeracy training programmes on learning, and individual and organisational performance.


The project is jointly funded by the European Commission's Leonardo da Vinci Sub-Programme, the London Development Agency and the Learning and Skills Council London Region.  The project is due to complete in January 2010.


We hope that the project will help to make the business case for workplace literacy, language and numeracy training, and to promote the continuous improvement of training design and delivery.

Click here to read more about the project



Daily Telegraph article explores the need for LLN skills


The Daily Telegraph recently published a Skills and Training Supplement entitled ‘Cutting It: How do we prepare for tomorrow’s economy?’ which included an article on the relationship between productivity and performance and the levels of communication and maths skills among employees.


The article features an interview with WoLLNET Project Manager Alison Noel, who outlines the potential role of the Training Impact Evaluation Toolkit in convincing employers of the value of investing in training in this area.

Click here to read the supplement/article (page12)




Research report available online


During the first phase of the project the Marchmont Observatory at the University of Exeter was commissioned to carry out a literature survey on training impact evaluation.  At the same time stakeholder consultations were carried out in all partner countries to establish experiences, views and needs concerning workplace LLN evaluation. The researchers drew together the results of the literature survey and consultations to produce a report with recommendations for the development of the WoLLNET Toolkit.

The report’s main recommendations were that the Toolkit should be based on the ‘Four Levels’ model of learning evaluation developed by Donald Kirkpatrick, but that it should in addition provide guidance on the link between evaluation and learning needs and also include the capacity to calculate return on investment (ROI) from learning. The report also recommended that that the Toolkit would need to be fully customisable to the needs of individual organisations.

Click here to read the full research report




Toolkit Version 1.0 trialling is underway


The initial phases of software and content development have been completed and Version 1.0 is now being trialled by a range of UK organisations, including local authorities in the London boroughs of Newham, Sutton and Wandsworth, a care home in Leeds, Transport for London, DHL Aviation, and npower. 


The trial was kicked off with a briefing event in London on 31st March and will continue until mid-June. Feedback from the trials will inform the next phase of development of the Toolkit.  A second period of trialling will take place in the UK, Austria, Germany, Romania and Switzerland in the Autumn.


This is a very exciting phase of the project, as the vision starts to become a reality.  Results of Trial 1 will be summarised in our next newsletter.



So what does Toolkit version 1.0 look like?


The following screenshots and brief descriptions offer you a first glimpse of what the Toolkit looks like and an idea of how it functions. We hope to be able to provide much wider access to the live Toolkit in the Autumn.


i) The ‘Home’ page


The tabs in the top menu are links to the main ‘engines’ of the Toolkit:


·          ‘Evaluation Projects’ is the area where the evaluations are created and managed.

·          The ‘Question Library’ provides a large bank of pre-set evaluation questions (organisations can also create their own questions).

·          ‘Email Lists’ contains the contact data for evaluation respondents.

·          ‘Reports’ is where the evaluation data is ‘crunched’ to provide detailed reports. Both standard and Return on Investment (ROI) reports are available.

·          ‘Help’ contains video guidance on how to use this Toolkit. 


In addition the left-hand menu contains links to comprehensive guidance materials to support users through the evaluation process.




ii) The Level 4 (Organisational Performance) Question Type


This is just one of three innovative question types created especially for the Toolkit (the others enable you to collect data on assessments/qualifications and on changes to job behaviours/competencies).


The ‘Level 4’ question type allows you to collect organisational performance data directly from stakeholders (or you can add your own data), assign financial values to the changes, and apportion the influence of the learning programme. The results can then be used to create standard and/or ROI reports.


The screenshot below shows a section of this question type. In the live version screen pop-ups provide guidance on the terms used and the kind of data needed to complete the questions.




iii) ROI reporting


A highly innovative feature of the Toolkit is the ability to draw financial data from evaluation surveys and combine this with data from a dedicated ‘cost calculator’ to create detailed ROI reports.


The screen shot below shows a small section of the ROI report.







NALA explain why they got involved in WoLLNET as an advisory partner


In Ireland the Workplace Basic Education Fund (WBEF) was set up in 2004 under the Government Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.  The central aim of the fund of €3 million was to improve employees’ literacy and numeracy skills. The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment mandated FÁS (Ireland’s state training agency) to manage the fund and FÁS did so in consultation with the National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA).  The fund supported activity under what became known as the Skills for Work (SFW) initiative. About 2,000 individuals were trained on the programme in 2007 with a further 1,500 in 2008. 


The National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) works closely with FÁS, employer organisations and employers, trade unions and adult literacy providers.  In the course of their work in workplace basic education there is a challenge to effectively evaluate the impact of these training programmes.  The development of the Toolkit through the WoLLNET project is therefore welcomed by these groups.  We believe that the main benefits of developing the Toolkit will be the ease of access, flexibility of use and consistency and comparability of impact evaluation data.




Toolkit version 2.0 development and trialling


The Toolkit will be revised following feedback from Trial 1, and will then be localised to meet the specific needs of partner countries.  Once this work has been carried out Toolkit version 2.0 will be trialled in Austria, Germany, Romania, Switzerland and the UK. 




We plan to host workshops to demonstrate the Toolkit and share the findings from our trialling from November 2009 through to January 2010.  A report on evidence gained from trialling of the business benefits of workplace LLN training, and final versions of the Toolkit in English, German and Romanian are also due for completion in January 2010 and will be published on the project website: www.wollnet.org.


Further development


Early feedback from stakeholders suggests that the Toolkit is a powerful and adaptable training evaluation tool which offers potential for:


·         use in the evaluation of any type of vocational training

·         customisation for particular organisations and sectors

·         adaptation for use within other European countries.



To find out more about potential future development of the Toolkit please contact Alison Noel – alison@skillsforwork.co.uk




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Email: info@WoLLNET.org (English language only)

Post: Skills for Work Ltd, Adhara House, 37 Harefields, Oxford, OX2 8HG

Telephone / Fax: +44 (0)1865 512604