Understanding key drivers of satisfaction in higher education


Learner Voice Wales is the largest post-16 learner survey undertaken in Wales. Between 2013-2015, a total of 182,691 learners took part in the core surveys across higher education, which gave them the opportunity to say what they liked best about their experience, and what they felt could be improved.  The Welsh Government needed a way of identifying key factors of satisfaction and areas in need of improvement hidden in the mass of verbatim responses.

What we did:

Ipsos MORI analysed over 150,000 open ended comments using natural language processing and machine learning, through which we were able to identify different layers of satisfaction and the areas in need of improvement.

Key insight:

The research highlighted the benefits of undertaking a more sophisticated and rigorous approach to text analytics beyond a simple volume-based assessment of keywords. The most commonly used words and phrases related to improvements in canteens, or food provision. However, our text analytics showed that teaching and learning were just as important to students, based on our ability to unpick a more complex conversation about these issues.


With our support, the Welsh Government was able to map the text data to survey data to identify key drivers of satisfaction overall, and analyse the data by institution to provide specific, feedback for individual learning providers in order to improve the student experience.


Learn more about text analytics



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