Kyoto University and Fujitsu Launch a Joint Research Project to Facilitate Evidence-Based Education

Kyoto and Tokyo, Japan, August 28, 2015

Kyoto University and Fujitsu Limited today announced that they are carrying out a research project to develop effective teaching methods and further students' self-directed learning. Conducting the research from June 2015 to March 2016, Kyoto University and Fujitsu will use data collected and accumulated by learning support systems, from Kyoto University and elsewhere, such as course learning records and teaching material access records.

This research project will analyze data, including teaching methods and curricula used by instructors, as well as students' learning methods, to determine their connections with learning outcomes. Furthermore, from the results of this analysis, they will develop new teaching methods and new methods to support students' self-directed learning, as well as the ICT platforms to enable them.

In so doing, they aim to improve the results of Kyoto University's tradition of students' self-directed learning, as well as to serve society by developing new and improved approaches to teaching and learning that can be used both in universities and throughout people's lives.

The flow of data from collection, analysis and visualization to resultsThe flow of data from collection, analysis and visualization to results Larger View (243 KB)


As stated in the Japanese government's plan to elevate Japanese universities to world-class levels, as put forth in the Japan Revitalization Strategy from the Headquarters for Japan's Economic Revitalization, while the nation and society have high expectations for university education, past efforts to improve education have primarily relied on the personal experiences and judgments of instructors. There are critical needs for effective, quantitative evaluation and continual, objective improvement.

Research Summary

Since introducing a variety of education and learning support systems in 2004, Kyoto University has been accumulating student learning data, such as class attendance, test results, and the times students consult teaching materials. Furthermore, since becoming the first Japanese university to provide free and open online courses on edX(1) in April, 2014, they have accumulated such data as educational video access times and students' answers to comprehension tests.

Beginning with its first learning support system offerings in 2004, Fujitsu has been working to provide systems that support the advancement of education through the use of learning data, including a function to analyze various data accumulated by learning support systems and graph the attributes of learning activities(2) , first offered in 2012.

In this study, Kyoto University and Fujitsu will analyze the learning data collected and accumulated by Kyoto University and develop both new methods of teaching and self-directed learning, as well as ICT platforms to enable these new methods. Kyoto University will focus primarily on analysis of the effectiveness of these methods and comparisons with that of previous learning activities, as well as developing new teaching and learning methods building upon these research results, while Fujitsu will focus primarily on ICT-based analysis of the data and the development of ICT platforms to enable these new teaching and learning methods.

  • Research Project Period: June 2015 - March 2016
  • Research Project Overview:

(1) Analysis and visualization of data from MOOCs(3) (June - September 2015)

Fujitsu and Kyoto University will develop tools to analyze the relationship between students' learning activities, such as watching online videos, and their level of understanding, using student learning data accumulated on edX.

Kyoto University will primarily provide data on student learning and develop strategies and plans for analysis, while Fujitsu will develop the analytical tools and carry out the analysis.

(2) Integration, analysis and visualization of data from internal teaching and learning support systems (October - December 2015)

In addition to the learning data from edX's MOOC offerings, Fujitsu and Kyoto University will analyze the effectiveness of teaching and learning methods from multiple data sources, identifying, aggregating and integrating learning data from OCW(4) , LMS(5) , as well as from a variety of internal teaching and learning support systems. They will also develop a dashboard to visualize the results of this analysis in an easy to understand format.

Kyoto University will primarily provide learning data and develop strategies and plans for analysis and visualization, while Fujitsu will primarily develop the tools and dashboard for integrating, analyzing and visualizing data with ICT, as well as carrying out the analysis.

(3) Empirical examination of the effectiveness of the developed tools and methods in a university learning environment (January - March 2016)

Fujitsu and Kyoto University will integrate the developed tools into one ICT platform, and implement it broadly, from lectures using MOOCs to university education. They will also verify the effectiveness of the results through evaluating student levels of understanding through test results and student satisfaction through surveys.

  • For Instructors: This will provide visualization of the effects of improvements to teaching methods and curricula, and verify that learning data is being effectively applied to teaching optimization.
  • For Students: This will verify that, by providing students with their respective positions in the rankings of test results and efforts toward their studies, such as proactive preparation and completion of assignments, students' desire to learn will increase and their self-directed learning will become more effective.

  • Privacy Information:

Kyoto University and Fujitsu will analyze collected data and personal information only with the consent of the individual, within Kyoto University's closed system environment. All possible efforts will be made to protect collected data and personal information, and all such information will be destroyed at the conclusion of the study.

Future Plans

Building upon the outcomes of this research project, Kyoto University will continue to move forward on its efforts to help students learn and grow so that they can contribute globally with their talents.

Fujitsu, in applying the ICT platforms to be developed in this research project, is aiming to contribute to society by developing and providing an effective lifelong learning and teaching environment, not just for students, but for anyone.

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