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Assessing the viability of team learning in Japanese higher education

Team Hachi Project finds that students can increase performance through team learning; are teachers and institutions barriers to adaptability?
Assessing the viability of team learning in Japanese higher education

Despite a culture with cooperation as a core value, Japanese higher education generally uses rigid lecture-test teaching models that neither support nor condone small-group learning methods in the classroom. As a result, Japanese college students usually work outside the classroom to develop the collaborative skills necessary to contribute effectively at work and in society.

To assess the viability of team learning methods foreign to Japanese higher education, a mixed methods action study project was conducted with remedial students in a Japanese college. Called Team Hachi Project, the research found support for the assumption that Japanese college students could increase academic learning and performance through interdependent learning methods. In addition, Team Hachi Project found the following:

  1. Group gains can be at the expense of individual accomplishment; however, equitable practices and effective leadership can foster high levels of satisfaction for high-performing individuals in small-group learning environments.
  2. Strong barriers inhibit the viability of team learning in the college classroom, including traditional context, static method, and lecture-bound instructors.


Brent Duncan presented the Team Hachi Project findings to a global committee of scholars during a dissertation defense on January 26, 2013. The research report is being prepared for publication in Summer 2013. Meanwhile, the following resources are available:

This link will take you to a recording of the Brent Duncan's dissertation final oral review, which is a video with audio and visuals.

This link will take you to the PowerPoint slideshow from Brent Duncan's dissertation final oral Review on skydrive. This contains the slides only, no audio.

Access the entire disseratation through ProQuest.

The online supplemental materials archive includes the following:

  • Orientation resoures, including script and slides
  • Workshop resources for each research cycle, including readings, quizzes, team exercises, slides, and surveys.
  • Data collection instruments
  • Japanese and English versionss of most materials

These documents are (C) 2013 by Dr. Brent Duncan, all rights reserved. They are provided for information purposes only. For usage information, contact the author through