“Te Pūkenga is committed to being responsive to learners and operating in a way that empowers them. This means that learner voice needs to be an integral part of how we operate,” says Deputy Chief Executive Tania Winslade.
“We also know from our Ākonga at the Centre research conducted last year, that learners can leave education and feel frustrated if they feel their voices haven’t been heard.
“We need to think about how we continually capture learner feedback to improve the learning experience. This piece of work was completed to expand on this opportunity.
The report sought to understand the current state of learner voice systems and processes and to identify key enablers, barriers and opportunities to learner voice.
“We conducted 34 interviews in March and April 2021 with learners and staff of Te Pūkenga subsidiaries and New Zealand Student Association representatives and the insights will help inform recommendations and next steps to strengthen learner voice,” Tania says.
“This work forms part of our Learner Journey and Experience workstream which aims to provide a greater understanding of learners so we can deliver learning in a way that embraces the unique needs of all learners, including those who have been traditionally under-served.”
One of the staff members involved was sceptical to start with but says “It’s an amazing, once in a lifetime mahi to be part of and will be life changing for so many.”
“There were variations between each subsidiary on how learner representative and leadership groups were structured and function, the way learner voice is captured and shared, the level of remuneration and the degree of training provided to representatives and leaders,” Tania says.
“Common themes for improvement included having formal feedback mechanisms to show how learner’s feedback was being actioned, clearer expectation of what was required from learner leadership and representation groups and better support and training for these roles. They said feedback would be enhanced if there were more safe spaces and informal ways to give it and that their voice and issues should be shared more widely across their subsidiary.
“Learner leadership groups said they struggled to connect in with underserved learners such as Pacific, Disabled, International and Māori learners. Learners on shorter programmes said there wasn’t time to take on leadership roles.
The report noted there were opportunities for Te Tiriti partnership approaches to be applied to student representation, leadership and decision making and that learners and staff were keen to work in partnership.
Findings from a stocktake on the current state of Learner Voice is available to download here.