Developing an EGAP Online Course

Are Japanese Digital Natives Ready?


Parisa Mehran,  Alizadeh Mehrasa, Ichiro Koguchi, & Harou Takemura, Osaka University

Click the video frame above to view the presentation. To ask the presenters a question about their presentation, please add a comment at the bottom of this page between October 3 and October 8. Presenters will check for and reply to questions each symposium day.


When one thinks of Japan today, technology quickly springs to mind alongside the images of sushi, cherry blossoms, and kimonos. Japan is in fact a technology-driven country that manufactures millions of high-tech gadgets; however, digital literacy levels are comparatively low amongst its generation of digital natives. Anecdotal evidence suggests that while Japanese university students are skillful at using smartphone applications such as LINE and are even occasionally addicted to gaming, many are not avid technophiles when it comes to education. Therefore, availability and accessibility of computer technology do not necessarily guarantee its usability, and that is why technology has not yet been normalized in Japanese educational settings. As an initial step in designing and developing a web-based EGAP (English for General Academic Purposes) course at Osaka University, this study seeks to assess Japanese learners’ perceived e-readiness for learning English online.

An adapted version of the Technology Survey, developed by Winke and Goertler (2008) and translated into Japanese by the researchers, was used to collect data from a sample of 175 undergraduate Japanese students majoring in both humanities and sciences. The questionnaire items asked about respondents’ ownership of and access to technology tools (such as PCs, laptops, printers, and webcams), their ability in performing user tasks from basic to advanced (e.g., copying and pasting texts and editing videos), their personal educational use of Web 2.0 tools (for instance, blogs, wikis, podcasts, and social networking websites), and their willingness to take online English courses. Overall, the results indicate that students have personal ownership and sufficient access to digital devices as well as the Internet either at home or on campus.

Despite having low keyboarding skills in English, they also have a solid command of knowledge and practice of Web 2.0 tools for daily life, but not for educational purposes. This might explain why around 40% percent of the students are reluctant to take online courses which makes CALL-focused digital literacy training an essential element in implementing the prospective EGAP online course. The present study further highlights the importance of assessing learners’ CALL readiness prior to the delivery of an online course.

Parisa Mehran

Osaka University

Alizadeh Mehrasa

Osaka University

Ichiro Koguchi

Osaka University

Harou Takemura

Osaka University

2 thoughts on “Developing an EGAP Online Course”

  1. Thank you for the interesting presentation.
    My questions are, What must happen for Japanese digital natives to become ready to learn English online? Do you anticipate this happening any time soon? What are the next steps?

    Amy Takabori

    1. Dear Amy,

      Thank you so much for watching our presentation. In order to enhance the computer literacy of Japanese learners for the modern world, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) added a compulsory module to the national curriculum of schools known as “Information Studies”; however, this objective has not been fully achieved due to a set of reasons such as lack of time, budget and teacher training, culturally predominant teacher-centered instruction, and preference for traditional learning styles. That’s why learner training is highly essential prior to launching an online course.

      All the best,

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