Title: The Pandemic as Crisis and Opportunity for Higher-Education in Japan: Embracing New Student Expectations and Preferences about Learning Post-COVID
Stream: Learning Experiences, Student Learning & Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Chris Burgess, Tsuda University, Japan
Since the first case in January 2020, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on education in Japan. In higher education, online teaching became the norm and campus access was severely restricted. And while in-person classes fully resumed in April with the start of the 2022 academic year, it will be difficult return to the pre-pandemic "norm". On the one-hand, the number of students who have dropped out or taken a temporary leave of absence, citing problems adapting to school life and loss of motivation, were up some 40% from the year earlier. On the other hand, many students have embraced online learning: an October 2021 survey found that only about a third of students wanted to fully resume in-person classes. Many students welcomed the flexibility and freedom of online or on-demand classes and the time saved on commuting was significant in a country where many students still live at home. Moreover, in a culture where learners tend to be reluctant to engage actively in discussion or ask questions of the teacher, many students found online functions such as (private) chat, breakout rooms, anonymous brainstorming, Google docs, and use of quiz apps like Kahoot better matched their preferred learning style. In sum, while many university students have undoubtedly suffered during the pandemic, many others have found the methodological changes refreshing. The challenge for teachers returning to the physical classroom is whether they will seize the opportunity to continue to employ the innovative teaching methods favoured by many of Japan’s digital natives.
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