Measures of Success: Workplace Literacy and Essential Skills


  • Overview


We have published the final report from this project, Meeting Expectations: Measuring the Impacts of Workplace Essential Skills Training, which documents the study and includes data-collection instruments revised based on findings and input from key stakeholders (see appendices starting on p.90).

The evaluation found that the programs resulted in significant outcomes including improved confidence in everyday and work - related literacy skills, increased use of everyday literacy skills, strengthened social networks, increased satisfaction with life and work and improvements in several work - performance indicators. Businesses reported improved productivity and interpersonal relations. The researchers also found that positive outcomes extended to groups often thought not to benefit from workplace training: people with low educational attainment, immigrants who speak a language other than English at home, and older workers.



Measures of Success (MOS), a research project funded by the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES), Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC),  was managed by The Centre for Literacy. Building on pioneering work done by Dr. John Benseman in New-Zealand, the MOS project hired the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) to develop an evaluation model to measure the long-term outcomes of workplace literacy and essential skills initiatives. SRDC developed research protocols and surveys for the evaluation framework that were used to collect data in 18selected workplace LES sites in Manitoba and Nova Scotia, provinces that have invested in sustained workplace essential skills programs for more than two decades.  The partner agencies on MoS were Workplace Education Manitoba, and Nova Scotia’s Department of Labour and Advanced Education.

The funded phase of the project, begun in September 2009, was completed in March 2013. Findings from Measures of Success provide evidence that workplace LES programs can produce measurable gains and performance improvements that extend well beyond the end-point of the programs in many areas and for many types of workers. Using the results and feedback from the provincial partners, the employers, workers and field researchers, SRDC has streamlined the survey tools to make them more broadly usable. The Centre for Literacy will continue to look for opportunities to discuss the findings of the project and explore its ramifications for workplace literacy and essential skills (WLES) training with provinces and with other interested organizations.



The overall goal was to develop and test an evaluation model to measure the long-term outcomes of workplace LES initiatives on individuals, workplaces, companies, and local community.  The outcomes were evaluated from the perspectives of learners, co-workers, supervisors, employers, and union representatives.

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