Hokkaido University and Fujitsu Begin Research to Optimize Personalized Learning

Via Fujitsu Press Releases

Jun 30, 2015

Tokyo and Sapporo, Japan, June 30, 2015

Hokkaido University and Fujitsu Limited today announced a joint research project that aims to foster human resources capable of acting globally and with the innovative thinking that society needs. The research, running from April 2015 through March 2016, will utilize ICT to analyze learning materials and educational methods.

This project will develop tools and techniques for analyzing the characteristics of student learning based on learning logs of individual students that record the state of homework and lesson comprehension, along with lifestyle logs that record their habits and interests, together with open-data sources, such as traffic data and weather. The analytic results and tools will be used in Hokkaido University's lectures and learning support, and their effectiveness will be evaluated.


Universities and other institutions of higher learning seek to develop people who are capable of innovative thinking and who can act globally. At the same time, OER(1) and MOOC(2) are expanding opportunities for people anywhere in the world to participate in the best classes for free via the Internet. Meanwhile, at the higher education level, an increasing number of students are finding that the self-directed learning may not work well even with the growing use of techniques such as flipped classrooms(3) .

Hokkaido University and Fujitsu are working together on this joint research project, capitalizing on Hokkaido University's background in open education and Fujitsu's strengths in data analysis. Through their respective capabilities, they are to analyze what form of learning will work best for different students, taking into account data that includes lifestyle factors, and to provide lectures, learning support, and ICT-based learning materials. The ultimate goal is to strengthen each student's individual ability to learn utilizing learning analytics.

Project Overview

1. Study duration

April 2015 to March 2016

2. Description

  • Data collection and feature extraction (April-July 2015):

Hokkaido University will gather the following data in connection to classes, during the first half of fiscal 2015, from students who have previously agreed to provide information.

Information on individual students

  • Data on studying (time to prepare lessons, comprehension of lectures, learning style, etc.)
  • General information about the student (motivation type, off-campus activities, etc.)
  • Lifestyle information (sleeping, eating, physical shape, etc.)

National information

  • Open data on Hokkaido (weather, events, festivals, tourism trends, etc.)

  • Data analysis and conclusions regarding what affects learning (August-September 2015)

Using ICT to discover correlations, and to visualize patterns, in the collected data, researchers will analyze the capabilities and behavioral patterns of individual students, along with their psychological states and the factors that affect their learning. Personalized learning materials will be provided to each student that can study over the Internet, along with study guidance.

  • Testing effectiveness of analytic-tool development (October 2015-March 2016)

Tools that perform the above analyses will be developed and the results of those analyses will be applied to classes and study guidance at Hokkaido University in the second half of fiscal 2015 to test the effects these changes had on the efficiency, comprehension, and retention of studying.

3. Handling of personal information and data

Data collected with the consent of the participants and their personal information will be analyzed in a closed system environment at Hokkaido University. Data collected and personal information will be deleted upon completion of the study, after verification.

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