Building an engaging student experience in a dual-sector tertiary education provider

Steph Wood

July 2021

With more than 50,000 students in over 500 courses, Holmesglen is one of Australia’s largest dual-sector tertiary institutions. Holmesglen has committed to providing it’s students with a positive and rewarding student experience - the Holmesglen Experience (HX). This commitment values student voice as a critical factor in student success, and in shaping the HX. 

In delivering this commitment, Holmesglen noted a challenge they faced was a lack of consistent methodology or tool for teachers to gather feedback from their students. While some teachers gathered student feedback, many didn’t. Centralised processes were gathering feedback at the end of units, but this was proving too late to make change to better support students when it could help, and low response rates meant an incomplete picture. Only 26% of Holmesglen students were providing feedback to their teachers.

Holmesglen sought to implement a consistent system for teachers to gather student feedback and responses, and for the institution to holistically understand student experience.

Given the size and complexity of the institution, any solution needed to be easy for teachers and students alike, implementable at scale with minimal barriers, and provide a consistent experience for students. After engaging Ziplet for a pilot in 2018, Holmesglen quickly expanded to institution-wide use, onboarding teachers quickly with minimal training so they could start gathering responses within 24 hours. 

Holmesglen takes a three dimensional approach to student voice using Ziplet

  1. Teachers ask their students questions from a set of Core Questions, co-developed between Holmesglen and Ziplet. This provides the opportunity for teachers to identify areas of need early, and is a critical step to improve student satisfaction, while giving the organisation a common data set from which to generate insight.
  2. Teachers are supported to develop their own Supplementary Questions which are relevant to their own units, and gather comprehension and progress data to make improvements. 
  3. Holmesglen leadership are able to ask cohorts or segments of their students Pulse Questions to generate an understanding of the effectiveness of the HX, and continue to develop the program to provide an outstanding experience.

Student voice is amplified at Holmesglen

Ziplet’s implementation has radically altered the culture of gathering student feedback at Holmesglen. For teachers, Ziplet provides an easy and fast way to do something they want to do: understand their students better. For the leadership team, Ziplet enables the institute to address key areas of the Holmesglen Experience:

  • Enable all learners to have a voice in their learning experience
  • Effectively engage diverse learner cohorts and cater to different learning needs
  • Effectively use teaching and learning technologies to increase engagement and success

Key outcomes

Over 200,000 responses have been gathered since implementation, meaning that Holmesglen and its teachers have the ability to make informed decisions, at the time it matters, to support high quality teaching and an excellent Holmesglen Experience. 

Key outcomes from Ziplet implementation:

  • Increase in student response rates - from 26% to 76%
  • Delay in teachers receiving feedback to drive change - from 40+ days to less than 1 day
  • Delay in institute data demonstrating impact of course improvements - from 84 days to less than 1 day

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