In the UK, the National Student Survey (NSS) is used to give students a voice; it provides them with the opportunity to give feedback on their higher education experience. The promise is that it will enable them to “help shape the future for (their) fellow students, and help those considering higher education decide where and what to study”. In 2016, more than 70% of final-year students in the UK completed the NSS across 357 eligible institutions.
The NSS provides valuable feedback and insight, but there is a problem. It’s an annual, reflective survey – that is, it provides a snapshot in time, after the event. It may benefit “future students” but what about the students who are providing the feedback? The opportunity to provide input has come too late for them. So, is the NSS fit for purpose?
Yes, it is – as part of a feedback “toolbox”. We’re not advocating junking the NSS, or other comparable national surveys conducted in other countries, but we are advocating a blended approach where the national survey is a tool in the toolbox rather than the toolbox itself.
A lengthy, annual survey that asks students to reflect on their experience in higher education isn’t the only way to collect feedback. It isn’t even the best way.
If you want to identify what’s working and what’s not in real-time, the NSS is of limited value. In this situation, a real-time feedback solution is needed.
Consider Warwick University (the UK’s Sunday Times University of the Year 2015) as an example. Warwick use touchscreen kiosks to collect feedback in real-time, 24/7, all year long. These surveys provide Warwick with a continuous flow of intelligence, helping the University to regularly refine and improve its offering and maintain its position in the UK’s University league tables.
Which brings us back to the second objective of the NSS – to “help those considering higher education decide where and what to study”. Mark Potter, the University of Warwick’s Head of Service Delivery, commented, “We want to understand the entire student journey, and immediate feedback is key. Accurate and swift gathering of feedback in our cafes, bars, restaurants and shops is embedded in our continuous improvement programme, giving us a wealth of data which we are using to drive ongoing improvements”. The University of Warwick maintains a constant focus on the student experience, capturing feedback that is immediate and timely. This enables them to address issues as they arise rather than months later as is the case with annual, reflective surveys. Given the proven links between student satisfaction, recruitment and financial performance, the ability to identify and resolve sources of student dissatisfaction when they occur is a service differentiator.
The same approach can also be applied to courses. Tutors can use feedback to gauge understanding, modify their approach (if required) and to adjust the flow of the class – all with the goal of maximising learning and academic performance.
Student leaving quick feedback at a catering venue
CREATE EXPERIENCES THAT PROMOTE STUDENT SUCCESS
Smart student feedback solutions provide essential insights to guide decision making at HE establishments in order to better support students and improve learner participation.
“Appealing to Students because they can answer them quickly.”
University of Warwick
Always-on’ real-time feedback solutions provide you with a constant flow of actionable insight. Informing you about how your students feel about the services you offer and what and where improvements are required.
The flexible solution enables you to monitor and benchmark services across facilities on campus, whilst also being able to tailor questions to focus on specific aspects of the different services:
“As responses are collected and analysed in real time,
service managers are far better placed to react
to feedback quickly.”
University of Exeter
Read more about our work at University of Exeter
Free up administration resource
No more data inputting! Your feedback is automatically uploaded and hosted in a central location so it can be accessed as required. A simple click and you are able to share reports or alternatively download the raw data for additional analysis.
Communicate changes through "you said we did" messages or signpost students to relevant resources, dependent on the answers they give.
Access feedback results on demand with graphical representations of the data collected.
If students report service drops that fall below set parameters then alerts are triggered giving you the opportunity to intervene quickly.
ViewPoint Live alerts
We’ve seen that real-time feedback solutions give the ability to identify and resolve sources of student dissatisfaction when they occur. But they also offer other advantages in comparison to the traditional, reflective feedback approach:
Wrapping it all up, you can use real-time feedback solutions to supplement national surveys like NSS. And you can also:
Get in touch to discuss more about collecting feedback from your customers.
“ViewPoint’s feedback solutions have been invaluable…(they) have given us a simple yet powerful set of consolidated, near real-time customer data to enhance the overall experience and help us make real improvements to our service offering.”
“As responses are collected and analysed in real time, service managers are far better placed to react to feedback quickly."