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Liverpool John Moores University Adopts Explorance MLY to Automate Analysis of Open-text Data for Quality Assurance

Montreal, Quebec – January 22, 2024 Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), which adopted Explorance Blue as its institutional platform for module evaluations nearly 10 years ago, has added Explorance MLY to its student surveys toolkit for quality assurance and enhancement.

Explorance MLY, formerly known as BlueML, is a revolutionary advancement in the field of feedback analytics. Powered by AI, the tool distills data-driven actionable feedback from massive amounts of unstructured comments. The first of its kind, MLY has specialized models that identify recommendations and alerts from student qualitative comments, allowing institutions to act quickly. It helps higher education institutions make data-informed decisions that should, in turn, enhance student experience.

“Explorance MLY adds to our range of evaluation tools and, importantly, it should provide access to rapid, automated analysis of open-text data that will support timely decision-making,” commented Dr Phil Carey, Dean of the University’s Teaching & Learning Academy, whose role is general oversight of academic practice at LJMU.

“We have a long history of using text analytics technology for scrutinising student feedback, so we understand the importance of expanding our range of evaluation tools and methodological approaches and capitalising on the latest solutions. Whilst we do not envisage that this will replace manual analysis of student comments, outcomes from MLY analysis will complement our existing work in this area.

“The key benefit is that comment analysis can be provided in a more timely manner. We value the richness and insight that open-text comments provide and recognise these are invaluable in helping us to understand the student experience and respond to needs. However, the time-consuming nature of analysis can result in significant gaps between students providing comments and us then being able to report on them. Another advantage is that MLY is a standalone product, so we can use it to analyse a variety of open-text data sets from other external and internal survey and evaluation work.”

The University was also a key contributor to the initial development of Explorance MLY.

“Alongside other HEIs, we provided institution-specific student comments to train the MLY software,” Dr Carey said. “Having piloted MLY on several data sets, we can say that the software reliably identifies key themes and their sentiment background. Categorisation of topics is transparent, consistent, and can be traced back to the source. This means we can monitor changes in the landscape of student feedback overtime, and look at longitudinal dynamics of specific themes or categories.

“Knowing that algorithms of the analysis are not static and that Explorance MLY will evolve, learn and adapt to changing themes has been one of the deciding factors in our decision to purchase MLY. It is also notable that Explorance welcomes ongoing user feedback, meaning that the UK higher education community is contributing to refining the instrument.”

With the machine learning element of Explorance MLY ensuring that algorithms of natural language processing are constantly being updated/developed based on this feedback, Dr Carey explained that MLY presented a “number of unique features such as recommendations on what to start, continue, or stop doing”. “There is also an ‘alerts’ function that brings sensitive topics to the attention of institutional researchers – allowing them to react more promptly to serious issues that affect student experience,” he added.

Dr Carey concluded: “With this and previous developments, Explorance has consistently proven itself to be an excellent company to work with. They have a focus on community building and sharing practice that means working with Explorance feels like a partnership more than a conventional business relationship.”

John Atherton, VP Sales EMEA at Explorance, said: “LJMU have long been innovators in this space. In fact, anecdotal evidence suggests the University was one of the first UK institutions to introduce a standardised online questionnaire for module evaluation. To have been working with them since the 2014-15 academic year and to have the University involved in supporting the development of MLY has been fantastic. We look forward to supporting LJMU’s objectives around fast, automated analysis of open-text data.”

In the UK, Explorance supports over 25 universities: Aberdeen, Anglia Ruskin, Bath Spa, Birkbeck – University of London, Brighton, Bristol, Buckingham, Cardiff, Cardiff Metropolitan, Coventry, Durham, Glasgow Caledonian, Keele, Kingston, Leeds, Liverpool John Moores, Loughborough, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham Trent, Northumbria, Sheffield, Strathclyde, Westminster, Worcester and University of Law.

About Liverpool John Moores University

Established in 1823, Liverpool John Moores University is a dynamic institution located in the Liverpool City Region with over 25,000 students from 100+ countries and 2,500 staff. With a selection of more than 300 degree programs, it stands as one of the UK’s largest, most dynamic, and forward-thinking universities. In the 2021 Research Excellence Framework, 73.1% of its research was classified as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent.’ For more information, visit ljmu.ac.uk.

About Explorance   

Explorance empowers higher education institutions with next-generation feedback analytics to accelerate the insight-to-action cycle, encouraging the philosophy of “Feedback for the brave” to drive purpose, impact, and growth.   

In an AI-driven world where feedback is pivotal for decision-making, Explorance is committed to amplifying the student voice, tailoring its solutions to advance vital strategic initiatives like teaching effectiveness and student success.   

Bringing 20 years of expertise, Explorance, a member of the World Economic Forum, has influenced over 25 million individuals with award-winning solutions like Blue, Metrics That Matter, and MLY. A trusted partner for 35% of Fortune 100 companies and 25% of top global educational institutions, Explorance champions data interoperability through key partnerships with major LMS and SIS partners, including Microsoft, Cornerstone, Oracle, Ellucian, and Instructure.   

Explorance, an AI award winner, is consistently among the top employers by the Great Places to Work Institute® and a two-time Global Leader in the 360-degree feedback market by Fortune Business Insights.    

For more information, visit explorance.com or connect on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. 

Artificial IntelligenceExplorance MLYHigher educationStudent engagementStudent feedback

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