Obtaining student feedback is something that most institutions have struggled with. Finding the balance between getting the information the institution needs to improve its provision and ensuring the students are asked in a way that increases responses while at the same time not overwhelming them with consultation can be difficult to achieve.
Following a review of the quantity and quality of learner survey responses in August 2010 Clydebank College took steps to enhance mechanisms for generating feedback, to ensure a more focused and consistent cross college approach.
It appointed a Learner Feedback Assistant, working within the Quality Department, to implement, and build on, feedback processes.
The Learner Feedback Assistant has come into contact with staff across the whole college including teaching and support staff. He provides tailored focus groups where required to support the self-evaluation process, i.e. feedback on refectory services or admissions process. He works with curriculum staff, including generating feedback from particular groups, i.e. from the Supported Learning students along with the Classroom Assistants or for evening or community students.
The post was evaluated at the end of 6 months for impact on the staff and learner responses. Staff were very positive about how the Learner Feedback Assistant has interacted with learners and the usefulness of feedback gathered. Requests to use the Learner Feedback Assistant have increased from all areas of the college including support areas. A further evaluation showed that the level of formal complaints had reduced from 64 the previous session to 17. The College recognises that this was largely due to the informal approach the Learner Feedback Assistant took in defusing a complaint and meeting with learners to get things resolved.
Initially a Future Jobs Fund post, the Learner Feedback Assistant is now funded from the College’s staff budget and the contract is being continued into 2013.
The Learner Feedback Assistant attended external NUS and student engagement events, including attending each sparqs training session delivered in the college and the sparqs Train the Trainer course.