Why Western Sydney University chose Kapiche to improve student experience & increase retention.

With Mike Kersten, Voice of Student Program




survey results annually


teams using Kapiche

Western Sydney University is a world-class university with a growing international reach and reputation for academic excellence and impact-driven research.

Ranked among the top 2 percent of universities in the world, WSU is globally focused, research-led and committed to making a positive impact – at a regional, national and international level.


Higher Education


Understanding VoC across multiple touchpoints and teams.

Like all tertiary education institutions in Australia, Western Sydney University is committed to improving the completion rates of their students. One of the key ways WSU does this is by analyzing free-text comments from the national QILT surveys, specifically the Student Experience Survey and Graduate Outcomes Survey.


Increase student completion rates and positively impact SES & GOS outcomes

Whilst a wealth of qualitative data is collected in the Student Experience Survey and GOS verbatims, it is currently going unused. This data may contain crucial insights that could be used to improve the student experience and influence future SES/GOS outcomes.

Since the introduction of the new Performance-Based Funding Scheme, it is more important than ever for Western Sydney University to maximise results from these surveys. Using Kapiche, WSU is taking action to improve student experience and graduate outcomes, which will ultimately influence the University’s funding.

The Challenge

Barriers to meaningful insights

Western Sydney University (WSU) runs a range of CX and EX programs for students and staff respectively. Student feedback programs include the typical end of semester feedback on teaching and unit quality, regular feedback from their significant online community of students, a rapidly maturing Voice of Student Program plus various other targeted student interaction surveys. For all of these programs, both quantitative and qualitative data is obtained.

The focus on understanding the student experience means the volume of qualitative data in the form of free text ‘verbatim’ style feedback is growing exponentially over time. This growing volume of data makes easy and effective analysis problematic – especially to distil key insights and trend changes over time.

Previously, the sheer difficulty and time involved in analysing the large volume of qualitative data provided a distinct barrier to its ongoing use – especially for those staff already coping with a limited bandwidth for basic quantitative analytics. This has meant that valuable insights from qualitative feedback data was often left untapped as a source of intel.

“Being able to analyse large volumes of qualitative data across multiple surveys using Kapiche allows us to bring our student experience data to life – and results in far greater use of student experience insights plus more targeted and timely action to improve student satisfaction and completion.”

- Mike Kersten, Voice of Student Program, Western Sydney University

The Solution

An accurate & targeted approach to student success

Mike Kersten, from WSU’s Student Experience team says that Kapiche allows WSU the ability to layer insights gained from not only quantitative and qualitative data but also relevant operational data, which will really sharpen the university’s learnings about student behaviour and perceptions.

This enables a more accurate and targeted interaction to improve the student experience – both end to end and at specific touch points along the student journey. This improvement in the student journey will in turn will directly influence advocacy, retention, completion rates and ultimately student success.

The Promised Land

Taking meaningful action to improve student success & retention

Having a high powered and easy to use qualitative analytics tool that seamlessly integrates with their main survey engine, Qualtrics, makes it easier to ‘sell’ the importance of using qualitative insights in both every day and strategic-level decision-making.

Kapiche produces a rather unique network graph that goes beyond the typical word cloud and also contextualizes when a particular word is said. It also allows us to analyse verbatim by cohort with the ability to enrich data with student record information. With Kapiche, we can apply our resources more at actions to improve the experience rather than expending valuable staff effort on analysing data to capture insights.

Kapiche also influences the nature of WSU’s student feedback methods and instruments. Having greater confidence in their ability to quickly and accurately distil key insights from qualitative data provides them opportunity to use shorter, sharper surveys which maximise the students’ own voice (verbatims) rather than traditional more lengthy quantitative style survey instruments.