Advance HE and Explorance agree partnership for open comments analysis for PTES and PRES to optimise understanding of the student experience

Advance HE has commissioned Explorance MLY to undertake open comment analysis of the 2024 Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) and Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES).

PTES is the only international higher education sector-wide survey to gain insight from taught postgraduate students about their learning and teaching experience. PRES, meanwhile, provides robust, benchmark data from large numbers of institutions across the UK and globally to drive enhancement of the postgraduate research experience. Both surveys explore the experiences of tens of thousands of students.

Explorance MLY, which is used by a growing number of universities in the UK and globally, is an AI-powered qualitative analysis tool that distils data-driven actionable feedback from huge amounts of unstructured comments – with machine learning models purpose-built for higher education. MLY has specialised models that identify recommendations and alerts from student comments, allowing institutions to close the feedback loop. Through this partnership with Advance HE, over 100 participating universities will have the opportunity to experience MLY via its sharing dashboards.

Specifically, Explorance MLY will be used to analyse open comments from thousands of individual survey responses to two questions in each survey: PTES (‘What has been the one most positive aspect of your course so far?’, and ‘What one thing would most improve your experience of your course?’); and PRES (‘What has been the one most positive aspect of your research degree programme so far?’; and ‘What one thing would most improve your experience of your research degree programme?’).

Institutions who opt-in to this service will receive an interactive tailored dashboard with their responses quantified, coded against the benchmark, and filterable by key demographics.

Jonathan NevesHead of Business Intelligence and Surveys at Advance HE, said:

“We are delighted to be working with Explorance on this project. Their expert analysis of open comments in this year’s PTES and PRES will be a crucial element to support the work of our members and the HE sector. The purpose is to provide participating institutions with better insights from these surveys that will help them improve the student experience and using MLY will help them do this more quickly than ever before.

“It is fantastic to be able to partner with an organisation which is already embedded in the sector, and is supporting individual universities with similar work around qualitative analysis of student feedback. MLY is a highly impressive tool, and we are looking forward to the implementation of a successful collaboration.”

John Atherton, VP Sales EMEA at Explorance, added:

“This is an exciting opportunity for us to work with Advance HE to support two integral surveys in the international higher education sector, and give individual universities the opportunity to experience MLY through the partnership. Thematically analysing free-text comments from student surveys is a huge challenge for universities, in terms of time and resources, and with our AI solution we can quickly develop themes and uncover patterns in responses to inform action. In turn, this leads to better insights to support and enhance student experience.”

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