Clear improvements in student learning and living experience

Posted by Guy Perring

Two weeks ago we looked at data on overall happiness and satisfaction from the live data from this year’s Student Barometer. This week I want to focus on aspects of the learning and living experience as students have now had a few weeks back on campus and we can review their reflections from data from 18th November which has data from over 10,000 students from institutions across over 10 countries (including the UK, USA, Canada, Ireland, Malaysia, Finland, the Netherlands, Italy, Australia, China and Singapore). The survey is live from September to mid-December each year and we expect more than 50,000 students to have responded by the close.

Getting the online learning experience right

As can be seen from the data below, we have seen a quite marked improvement in overall satisfaction with learning from 81% to 90% at a similar point last year.

ISB Aspects of learning


Our learning section has over 30 indices, but I’ve picked out four that are related to online learning and reflect the improvements that institutions have made over the last 18 months. The questions asked were satisfaction with:

  • Process of submitting work remotely
  • Quality of the online learning materials
  • Communicating virtually with tutors/lecturers
  • Virtual Learning Environment

The data is very clear with improvement across the board of around 6% since this time last year. My sense is that institutions, lecturers and indeed students have become far more adept at the process of online learning. This is due to a combination of investment in appropriate infrastructure and training of lecturers in both pedagogy and technology. Perhaps also a bit of trial and error where both learners and teachers have inched their way to the best approaches in this new hybrid world.

Living and Support

When it comes to the living experience on campus the picture of improvement is somewhat similar though perhaps less spectacular.

ISB Aspects of Living

Again, from the over 40 indices for living and support services that the Barometer covers, I’ve selected four that seem to reflect some of the important changes over the last tumultuous 18 months. No real surprises that we have seen a 10% increase in satisfaction with sports facilities along with a notable increase in satisfaction with clubs/societies that have been able to reactivate as students and staff return to campus.

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Student Unions step up their support during the crisis

Less spectacular increases in satisfaction with the Students’ Union – but perhaps reflective of the sterling work they did during global campus closures. In many cases, they ensured the student voice was represented and provided support for those students in need. An excellent insight into their work in Wales and Scotland can be read here and this is equally applicable to their work globally.

The vital role of IT support

IT has taken centre stage during the last 18 months and the CIOs of institutions have seen their influence increase in making key strategic decisions and a guaranteed seat at top management meetings. However, for the student the role of the IT support is key and it’s great to see such a strong performance both in 2020 and now in the most recent data. A 95% satisfaction rating is one of the highest across our more than 90 individual indices.

Back to campus

The unique insight that we can bring with live data from 10,000 students globally shows both the learning and living experiences are making significant increases and are reflective of the passion and enthusiasm that students and staff are bringing back to their campuses globally.



The Student Barometer helps institutions make informed decisions to enhance the domestic and international student experience and drive successful recruitment and marketing strategies.

Click here to discover more about Student Barometer



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