UK University

Examining workspaces, environments and estates at a London university

The brief

This university’s estates team required a research project that incorporated opinions from a wide variety of stakeholders to ensure their decisions have a positive impact on student experience, enhance the overall brand and are aligned with changing requirements of academics, staff and students.

Shift Learning gathered deep insights into experiences of the current environment to inform future development decision on the university’s estates and infrastructure.

Our approach and methodology

Shift Learning worked efficiently to deliver this multi-modal project within a 2-month window. The study involved:

Phase 1: Depth interviews
  • 26 interviews with senior staff and programme directors across several sites
  • Conducted face-to-face or by telephone to a loosely structured guide – lasting 30-60 minutes
  • Gathered deep insights into usage and areas for improvement across the built environment and facilities
Phase 2: Contextual interviews
  • 18 hour-long face-to-face interviews with students on campus, with respondents giving us a tour of ‘their uni’
  • A range of student types with different location colleges, fee statuses, subjects and modes of study
  • Gained detailed insights into student perceptions of preferred workspaces, areas of strengths and weakness, and potential improvements
Phase 3: eSurvey
  • Delivered to 2000 members of staff – achieving over 12% response rate
  • Generated rich data from a wide variety of respondent types including technicians, tutors, librarians and IT staff
Phase 4: Student competition
  • Delivered via Strutta – letting students put forward images that reflected the best and worst environments and facilities
  • The Shift Learning team worked collaboratively with the client to develop eSurvey and interview guides, using routing to provide an adaptive experience and creative questioning techniques to gain a deep understanding of respondents’ needs within the university environments.
  • Transparent communication via regular progress calls and emails
  • Analysis of qualitative data using leading data software Atlas.ti
  • Analysis of quantitative data using statistical analysis software SNAP.
Delivering results and value to our client

The Shift Learning team delivered:

  • An interim report within a week of finishing all depth interviews.
  • A full report 8 weeks after starting the project: illustrated with photographs, a range of diagrams and respondent quotes.
  • A Prezi presentation outlining the methodology, key themes and conclusions to senior members of the client’s estates team.
  • Actionable recommendations and a range of ‘quick wins’ to drive the research findings forward.