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Mystery solved by skills

Alistair Theodore-Logan is a prime suspect. He is the office lecher who lusts after his assistant Katie Lewis, believing she is in need of "hot Logan loving".

Katie herself is also in the frame. She is after all jealous that Alistair was given the marketing manager's job instead of her, when he is much less qualified.

Then again, training facilitator Jo-Jo Fox has been receiving a lot of phone calls recently from an ex-boyfriend who now works for a rival company.

All are suspects in a 25-characters computer detective game that the Learning and Skills Development Agency hopes will develop key skills among 16 to 19-year-olds. To solve the mystery of who stole a company's top-secret designs learners must use skills of communication and application of number.

Peter Munday, consultant on the project, said: "We are trying to engage students by combining gaming with learning. There are 16 assignments, eight literacy and eight numeracy, which each take two hours."

The project cost close to pound;500,000 and took nearly 18 months to complete. It contains more than 200 hours of learning and includes a "check your skills" section that helps learners identify where they need to improve.

Learners can log on to the Key Skills Trainer through www.keyskills4u.com.

The site enables users to travel around a building and "talk" to characters.

Deirdre Kimbell, executive manager of the Key Skills Support Programme which commissioned the site, said its use should be supervised by a tutor.

"It would not be best practice just to sit students in front of a computer and let them get on with it," she said. "It is there to support work in the classroom."

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