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This content is taken from the Loughborough University's online course, Numeracy Skills for Employability and the Workplace. Join the course to learn more.
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Meet Janette Matthews and learn how this course will work

Welcome to the course Numeracy Skills for Employability and the Workplace!

I am Janette Matthews, the lead educator on this course from the Mathematics Education Centre at Loughborough University. I have worked with Professor Tony Croft in developing this course and we hope that it will meet your expectations and that you will find that the time you spend working through the activities that we have designed will be rewarding in terms of increasing your knowledge and mathematical confidence.

I have become increasingly aware of the difficulties students face when seeking internships and employment on graduation. For many students, particularly those who last studied mathematics at GCSE, numeracy calculations are in the distant past. A lack of confidence and up-to-date skills are barriers. Even those students who have studied aspects of mathematics and statistics on their higher education course find that they are not as successful as they should be when taking employers’ numeracy tests as they are ill-prepared for the types of questions which are very different to those they may find on their examination papers. This course seeks to address these problems - to refresh skills and to provide opportunities for preparation. Of course these very same skills are needed in the workplace and can be applied in many aspects of every day life. So the materials on this course are very relevant even if you are not intending to take any employers’ tests.

How will this course work?

The course materials are split over three weeks. In the first week you will become more aware of numeracy and what topics are involved. In the second week, you will have the opportunity to refresh most of the skills you will need. The third week has a focus on statistics and how numerical information is presented.

Information on the course is presented in the form of onscreen articles or short videos with transcripts that may be printed. Where questions are posed in videos, we recommend that you use the pause button often and try and answer yourself before continuing. Replay the video where concepts are not clear. Use the course discussions to seek and offer help to other learners. There are many links to excellent materials outside this course where you can obtain more detailed tuition and practice should you need it. All these will develop your understanding and your skill sets.

At the end of each week there is a Glossary which builds from week to week. You can use this to check any unfamiliar terms.

Testing your understanding

You will only know that you have properly understood the materials if you are able to correctly answer questions. So built into this course are many quizzes. The questions contain feedback so that you can confirm that you have obtained the correct answer through following a correct process rather than by accident. Feedback also offers advice to avoid common errors. The questions have been designed to develop your skills in reading and interpretation. The questions at the beginning of the quiz tend to be easier than those at the end. We suggest you have some scrap paper to hand so that you can make notes and keep track of your calculations. You will also need some form of calculator as the course progresses.

At the end of the course there is a course test which, if you have followed all the steps and attempted all the quizzes, should confirm to you that your numeracy and mathematical confidence has improved and that you are better placed to be successful in this area.

How much time should you allocate?

Learners on this course will have very different mathematical backgrounds and experiences. Some of you will be performing calculations on a daily basis and only need a quick refresher. Others may have studied mathematics at school a long time ago. Some may be very anxious. The time you will need to complete this course may be very different to other learners. It may be quicker than three weeks. It may take much longer. We recommend you take as long as you need to understand, practise and feel confident. Focus on understanding. If you find you need to review steps and follow all the extra links and it takes you longer to complete the course, this is not a problem. The materials will remain available to use and come back to indefinitely. Try and work often on the materials rather than just once a week all in one go. You will find that you retain what you have learned more easily.

Statement of Participation

Should you wish, you can purchase a Statement of Participation from FutureLearn for taking part in this course. To be eligible, you must mark more than 50% of all course steps as complete and attempt all test questions.

At the end of each week, there are discussions where we invite you to share your experience of the course with us and other learners. We will use your comments to make improvements.

I look forward to meeting you on the course and hope you enjoy it.

Good luck and best wishes


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This article is from the free online course:

Numeracy Skills for Employability and the Workplace

Loughborough University