Student Experience Journey Mapping – The Power of SXJM

I first came across my new favourite SXJM (Student Experience Journey Mapping) a few months ago when a friend recommended attending a workshop run by Oracle on this methodology. I was a bit cynical as I thought that this was just an opportunity for Oracle to try to sell me something.  Boy was I wrong!

I was blown away with how fantastic SXJM is and believed learning more about it would really benefit the  MAfS team and other colleagues within Student & Academic Services.   I then started to talk non-stop about my view of SXJM until my colleagues relented and agreed to participate if I arranged for Oracle to give us our very own session.

Unlike other types of mapping student activities SXJM focuses on the experience. I have seen quite a few student journey maps that show how a prospective turns into an applicant and then into a student usually in the form of a tube map or train track.  SXJM uses a student persona and a very detailed story.   This methodology is very low tech.  Post-it notes and string are your best friends.  It works on this overall premise:

Attitudes drive behaviours that deliver results by changing the experience

Sounds easy right? Well it isn’t…at least not at first.  To really exploit this technique you have to get out of the mindset that you are mapping a process or re-engineering something.   Working with a facilitator in a group you review part of the story, from the student’s perspective and identify how they are feeling at each step, then you plot the back support that is enabling the experience.  It is at this point you identify the ‘moment that matters’ – this is turning point where the student either commits or disengages.  From here you look at the people and things that impact the moment that matters and come up with a plan that deliver your intended outcome.

I got my wish and last Wednesday Oracle led our very own SXJM session.  Attendees from the MAfS Team, Student & Academic Services, LEaD and reps from Schools took part in a three hour workshop.  A big thank you to everyone who attended and to managers who gave everyone else permission to attend!

Our lead facilitator George said that he has never seen so many engaged and enthusiastic people in one workshop and he has run dozens of these to universities all over the UK, to other public sector organisations and some private companies.

Check out photos from the day:

There was a lot of positive feedback from the session and while it is low tech there are a number of activities behind the scene that you need to spend time on for any workshop to be a success.  This session was a chance for us to ‘dip our toes’ in the methodology and consideration needs to be given to how we would use the outputs of further sessions and how this would integrate with the other methodologies we are trying to implement through MAfS.

I am hoping that we have a way forward in the next few months and able to offer some guidance on how to run similar sessions and able to run one or two through one of the MAfS project.

Happy to try to answer any questions you may have.




Melanie Sanderson

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