The story of Enlitened

The Story of Enlitened

We’re very proud to have launched the Enlitened app; a unique continuous improvement platform for student engagement and wellbeing. For some background about what Enlitened is and where the app has come from, here’s our story.

Enlitened and The Student Room Group

Enlitened is a new division of The Student Room Group. As a Group, we’ve been focused on helping students since 2001. We deliver tailored support and advice through the new Enlitened app, as well as across our established student community and learning websites, which include The Student Room, Get Revising, and Marked by Teachers.

We’ve learned a lot over the past 18 years, while supporting students from the beginning of GCSE through to the end of postgraduate study. During this time, we’ve also worked with most UK universities, exam boards, relevant government departments and institutions like Student Finance England, UCAS, The Samaritans, and the Office for Students.

Our team of experts care deeply about students feeling supported and as if they are part of a community. We’re also passionate about helping universities, HE bodies, recruiters and brands better understand what students want and need, so relationships can be built and experiences can be improved.


The Idea for Enlitened

The Deterioration in Student Wellbeing and Mental Health

The Student Room, another division of The Student Room Group, is a highly moderated, but open forum. It’s a place where students can start and engage in conversations about anything. Sadly, conversations are sometimes had around self-harm and suicide. When this happens, The Student Room has a team of volunteers, trained by The Samaritans and Papyrus, who reach out individually to the young people involved, and also move these conversations into a private domain.

In the year leading up to July 2018, this process was triggered 850 times. This was almost double the number of times the year before. Seeing this happen, along with the amounting sector-wide concern about student wellbeing and mental health, is what compelled us to find another way to partner with schools and universities to address student wellbeing.

Enlitened is well-aligned with the Universities UK mental health stepchange framework. We are pleased to be working with Universities UK, Northumbria University and other partners in a project funded by the Office for Students.

It’s very important to note that the Enlitened app isn’t a reactive tool for students who are having thoughts of self-harm and suicide. It’s a tool for student engagement and a way for them to keep track of their wellbeing. Enlitened should always be used as a part of a university’s wider wellbeing offering.

“The Enlitened app provides the higher education sector with a brilliant innovation that makes a valuable contribution to putting the wellbeing of university students at the forefront of their experience.” Mary Curnock Cook OBE, Former UCAS CEO and Advisor to the Higher Education Sector

The Need for a Tool to Improve Student Engagement

In recent years, The Student Room Group has seen transformational impact from using a real-time tool to measure and act on employee engagement.

We knew that if we could adapt this approach to the unique challenges of education, and have the same impact on student engagement, satisfaction and wellbeing, it would make a meaningful, long-term difference to both students and education institutions.

We set about conducting extensive primary and secondary research to inform the development of Enlitened. We also held user testing sessions, focus groups and workshops with students, to make sure the app is fully tailored to student needs.

As a result, the Enlitened app:

  • Offers engaging, proactive support for student wellbeing and student engagement
  • Amplifies both the student and university voice, so the university can make improvements and students can feel more engaged
  • Provides broad measurement and actionable insights in real-time, so university management can improve wellbeing and student engagement for all segments of the student population

How Enlitened Works

Students answer targeted, evidence-based questions about their wellbeing, connectedness and student experience. In response, they receive tailored advice directly to their phone. For greater support, the app signposts towards appropriate university and third-party services.

To amplify the student voice, students can anonymously submit ideas to improve university life, as well as show agreement with the ideas of others. The feedback loop is closed with the ability for representatives from the University and the Students’ Union or Guild to respond to student suggestions.

Enlitened’s data dashboard provides each university with real-time engagement and wellbeing insights based on students’ responses and ideas. The clear data and actionable insights can then be used to drive improvements in student wellbeing, engagement and satisfaction.

For more information on how Enlitened works, have a read of this.

“This is an exciting opportunity for us and the students to work together. It will help to build trust with the students by empowering them to have an instant and direct say, enabling us to provide an ongoing student experience that supports their ever-changing needs.” Student Experience Officer, University of Sussex

The Response So Far

After an initial pilot with the University of East Anglia, The University of Exeter, and the University of Sussex:

  • 94% of students said they are likely or very likely to continue using Enlitened in the future
  • 88% rated the Enlitened app 4 or 5 stars
  • 82% considered universities that offered Enlitened to be student focused
  • 76% said that submitting ideas on the Enlitened app has made them feel that their voice is being heard

From the outset, we’ve received great encouragement from a number of individuals and organisations. This includes mental health charities (like Papyrus and Student Minds), Universities UK, Office for Students, SMARTEN (the student mental health research network).

There’s also the Enlitened advisory board, consisting of Mary Curnock Cook OBE (the former CEO of UCAS), deputy vice chancellors, pro vice chancellors, professors from six universities, Jon de Pury (Assistant Director of Policy at Universities UK) and Will Archer (the founder of the International Student Barometer).

“In spite of completing previous surveys and feedback forms from the university, I have not felt as confident that my voice would be heard as I have with Enlitened.” Pilot university student

“I am proud of the great results our pilot has delivered. Students have said they feel connected and empowered, and universities are able to spot issues and track sentiment in real time. Enlitened is already having an impact on student engagement, satisfaction and wellbeing and making a meaningful difference to both students and universities.” Chris Newson, CEO of The Student Room Group


What’s Next For Enlitened?

Following the successful pilot, four universities have now partnered with Enlitened. These
pioneering partnerships highlight each university’s continuing commitment to promoting
student wellbeing and improving student experience.

The University of East Anglia has launched the app with all undergraduate students, while the University of Sussex is rolling it out to all new undergraduate students, and the University of Exeter to all first-year undergraduate students. Northumbria University also plan to roll out Enlitened with all undergraduate students in the School of Psychology over the next few months.

We’re focused on continuing to partner with universities so that the Enlitened app can support as many students as possible and make a real difference to their engagement and wellbeing.

“Enlitened is a service whose time has come. It has huge potential. Student engagement, wellbeing and mental health – and associated concerns around diversity and retention – are big issues for every university. I have yet to find an education provider that has cracked these challenges convincingly. Enlitened has great university partners and great supportive critics as advisers.” Will Archer, Enlitened Advisory Board Member and Founder of i-graduate (International Student Barometer)

For more information on Enlitened, you can contact us here. Or, for press enquiries, please email