University of Westminster partners with Explorance MLY to enhance qualitative analysis capabilities

The University of Westminster is partnering with Explorance MLY to support its institutional need for enhanced qualitative analysis of student experience insights emerging in surveys.

MLY, formerly known as BlueML, is a revolutionary advancement in the field of feedback analytics that identifies recommendations from comments. For students, it helps to enhance teaching methods and curriculum through the evaluation of student learning experiences, supporting student satisfaction and engagement. It also supports employee journeys, capturing experience and learning insights.

The University, which has more than 21,000 students drawn from 160 different nationalities on its undergraduate, postgraduate and professional courses, is currently rolling out MLY within its student and colleague surveys after purchasing the system at the end of 2022-23.

“We decided to purchase MLY as a result of wanting to build on our qualitative analysis capabilities,” explained Kirsty Bryant, Senior Institutional Research Analyst – Strategy, Planning, and Performance at the University of Westminster. “Prior to MLY, we would manually thematically analyse the open comments from just one of our surveys, despite running several large-scale surveys throughout the academic year. Whilst we knew our dataset well, we were also aware of how resource-intensive such analysis was, so were looking for ways to streamline this process to increase the amount of qualitative analysis that we could undertake.”

MLY offered the University “quick processing deductive thematic analysis”, Kirsty said, as well as a platform for enabling wider innovation in her team.

“The AI through Explorance MLY gives us greater capacity so we can run all our major surveys through this system and will enable us to be more responsive, especially in consideration of module evaluation surveys, where we can identify in-year issues and react quickly,” she continued. “We also expect there to be a culture shift in how my team spends their time. We can focus on how and what we communicate to stakeholders and ensure there is accountability in making positive change. We will be able to share high-level analysis of the open comments almost as quickly as we currently deliver the quantitative counterparts of our surveys. We expect this to be a real culture change as our qualitative data can be elevated to the same status as our extensive quantitative datasets.​”

Kirsty added: “Bringing in all the qualitative data from all our major surveys means we will have the capacity to map different levels of study or different time periods to identify patterns and trends. We can segment the data to better understand different student user journeys and develop measures to ensure success for all our students. The Explorance team have really listened to our suggestions and have taken many of them on board to further improve MLY.”

John Atherton, VP Sales EMEA at Explorance, said: “We are really pleased to be working with the University of Westminster, which is not currently a user of our Explorance Blue course evaluation platform but has purchased MLY to support its existing system. MLY empowers organisations to listen inside and out by gathering insights not only from internal survey comments, but also from external channels, such as reviews or social posts. This way, MLY provides the capability to distil actionable feedback directly from the authentic voice of people, without the filters and constraints of survey questionnaires.”

In the UK, Explorance supports over 25 universities: Aberdeen, Anglia Ruskin, Bath Spa, Birkbeck – University of London, Brighton, Bristol, Buckingham, Cardiff, Cardiff Metropolitan, Coventry, Durham, Glasgow Caledonian, Keele, Kingston, Leeds, Liverpool John Moores, Loughborough, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham Trent, Northumbria, Sheffield, Strathclyde, Westminster, Worcester and University of Law.

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