For the first pilot we cut things down to the bare essentials. We wanted the service to be simple, reliable, to achieve a high completion rate, and to demonstrate a demand. We made a number of compromises to arrive at questions that tested well across all the sectors. And while we ran a popular and successful pilot, we knew we had probably cut things down too far. We were missing key questions on learners’ digital confidence and study habits, and on how digital technology influenced their learning. Our pilot sites told us these were issues they wanted to know more about; our consultation events confirmed it. And just as we encourage institutions to respond to their student data, we’ve listened to the feedback and we’ve made some changes.
You can now try out the revised core questions for the Tracker here. This is a generic version (we are preparing slightly different versions for HE, FE, Adult and skills, and Online learners). After browsing the questions we will ask you for some feedback to help us understand your needs and continue to make improvements. If you were familiar with the pilot Tracker you’ll see some new response options and some whole new questions. The Tracker will also be more customisable this time around, allowing you to choose some optional questions and to ask learners about your own current concerns using the same instrument. Although completion takes slightly longer as a result, we are confident we are helping you to answer the questions that matter most to you and your learners.
If you think your learners deserve a chance to answer these questions and to have their answers heard, please sign up to take part in phase 2.
More about the phase 2 Tracker service
As the Times Higher reports that technology use is critical to university rankings, and as FE colleges continue to respond to the FELTAG agenda, the Tracker allows you to gather reliable evidence about learners’ digital experience. In Phase 2, the Tracker:
- is open to all
- has been piloted and proven in practice
- has been enhanced and extended
- can be customised to your needs
- can be implemented across the whole organisation or at a more specialised levels
- is simple to use, with a single URL for users and guidance at every step
- incorporates data benchmarking against your sector average
In order to sign up, you or another nominated institutional representative will have to complete a short planning sheet (the deadline for this has now been extended to 7 October). There is more information about taking part in the pilot on the sign-up page.
More about the updated Tracker questions
In line with our consultation findings, we have:
- Added more detail to response options, making the data more precise
- Added some new options to existing questions
- Developed a new question set about how students use technology in their own study time
- Developed a new question set about students’ digital capabilities
- Changed the free text questions slightly, recognising that the free text data was highly valued but that the questions asked were too similar
- Added customisable questions so that you can survey students about local issues alongside nationally benchmarked measures using the same instrument
- Taken out a few questions that were misunderstood or did not prove useful in practice
- Updated our guidance to better support the analysis of findings and to help frame appropriate responses
This has resulted in a longer question set but one that is still easy to complete and simple to customise. Crucially, we have kept most of the original questions so that you can compare results from last year if you are keen to carry out the process again.