Exploring the potentials of language learning with a MOOC

The International Conference of Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) was held from March 2 to 6, 2015, in Las Vegas. We made a presentation at the conference, and I would like to share the outline with you.


This study investigated the potential for English language learning using Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). These courses are an epoch-making invention in distance education that uses information and communications technology (ICT). The concept is based on the ideology of open education, which aims to expand opportunities for education and learning. By using MOOCs, learners can take free lectures that are provided by professors from elite universities and get certificates once they have fulfilled the necessary conditions. While MOOCs have a huge educational potential, some studies have indicated that their impact has already passed its peak. However, we believe that MOOCs are very useful as a new genre for language learning; therefore, we have investigated how blended style lessons involving MOOCs could affect learners. For the investigation, we focused on "perception of openness," "willingness to communicate," and "self-efficacy."


The hypotheses for testing were 1) whether perception of openness, willingness to communicate, and self-efficacy are related to one another, 2) whether there is a significant difference between the perceptions of openness among learners in a MOOC lesson group and those in a traditional lesson group, and 3) whether there is a difference between the willingness to communicate among learners in a MOOC lesson group and those in a traditional lesson group. The experiment, which included 60 participants, was conducted at the Akahori Laboratory in the autumn of 2014. For the experiment, the class outline was explained using the syllabus, and the effects were measured.


We found that 1) perception of openness, willingness to communicate, and self-efficacy have a positive correlation statistically, 2) the perceptions of openness among learners in a MOOC class group is significantly higher than among those in a traditional class group, and 3) there is no significant difference between these two groups in terms of their willingness to communicate. The finding by Anzai (2011) that the perception of openness has a positive impact on English proficiency suggested to us that participants in our MOOC class group might significantly improve their proficiency. Because this study investigated only the effect of class introduction, we will need to conduct a more detailed investigation into the situations to be observed after the class lessons.


This study was conducted under a grant by The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research, 26350332. CRET also supported this study. We would like to express our appreciation to these organizations.


(Yayoi Anzai, CRET Researcher)

Kanji Akahori

President of ICT CONNECT 21

Professor Emeritus of Tokyo Institute of Technology

Up to the present day, he has worked as a senior high school teacher in Shizuoka, a lecturer and associate professor of Tokyo Gakugei University, and then an assistant professor and professor of Tokyo Institute of Technology. During his career, he has also served as a guest professor at The Open University of Japan and the UN University Institute of Advanced Studies, etc.

◆ Publications:
Invitation to Educational Technology, JustSystems, 2002
Instructional Designs as the Basics of Classes, Japan Audio-Visual Education Association, 2004
The Methods and Actualities of Class Designs, Koryosha, 2009
Classes for Information Morals that Nurture Communication Skills, JustSystems, 2010, and others

Yayoi Anzai

CRET Researcher / Researcher, International Christian University

Hobbies: snokelling, swimming, tennis, and cooking


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Areas of Reasearch in CRET

This laboratory conducts research on test evaluation and analysis. We also perform joint research and exchange programs with overseas testing research institutes.

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for the laboratory

This laboratory conducts research and development into testing approaches that measure communication skills, teamwork skills, and social skills, etc.

Dr. Atsushi Aikawa

Faculty of Human Sciences,
University of Tsukuba
Ph.D. in Psychology

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for the laboratory

This laboratory conducts research on the foundation of computer-based testing, and basic research on media and recognition, as well as applied and practical research
that utilize such knowledge.

Dr. Kanji Akahori

Professor Emeritus of
Tokyo Institute of

>> Click here
for the laboratory