Incorporating Instructional Design Theory into an Online Graduate Program (Japan) by Dr. Katsuaki Suzuki (Regional Speaker)

By Helen Torigoe (2016 TCC Guest Blogger)

Photo of Dr. Suzuki

Dr. Katsuaki Suzuki

Kumamoto University is in the southern island of Kyushu in Japan, where strong earthquakes last week caused much damage.  As a result, Kumamoto University is currently closed and is being used as a shelter for displaced nearby residents.  Nevertheless, Dr. Suzuki signed in from Sendai, Japan to present to the lucky attendees of TCC 2016.

“Online is not a secondary mean to provide education, but it serves a wider audience in a better environment for learning.”  — Dr. Katsuaki Suzuki

When Dr. Suzuki was tasked with redesigning Japan’s first and only totally online graduate program that trains eLearning specialists, he looked to innovative learning models and selected story-centered curriculum (SCC).  Based on Goal-Based Scenarios (GBS) model which saw much success in corporate training in the 1990’s, SCC is an authentic learning model with reality-context, to give students in educational settings “meaningful and motivating roles.”

In SCC, the program begins with a “cover story” — a  real-life scenario with a “Boss” who requests work orders (i.e. course tasks) that need to be completed throughout the semester.  Students would focus on one course at a time and complete tasks with similar themes, thereby completing the objectives of several courses in sequence rather than working on several courses in parallel.  This cohesive sequence of events/tasks resembles the real-life work environment that the students will eventually graduate into.

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Results of the first trial of SCC showed:

  • More realistic reports for the course assignments
  • Less delays in completion of assignments
  • A survey of the participating students showed positive perception of the SCC model over the traditional model.

The implication of this innovative learning model at Kumamoto University naturally leads to his initial question — “Can we have a different architecture for online schools?”  Dr. Suzuki proved why he is considered one of the pioneers of eLearning in  Japan.  Actually, he may be leading the way for any higher education institution around the world considering redesigning their online programs.

Contact Dr. Katsuaki Suzuki
Professor and Chair of Instructional Systems Program
Graduate School of Social and Cultural Sciences
Kumamoto University
086-8555 JAPAN

Editor’s note:

A recording of Dr. Suzuki’s presentation may be view online at:

Regional Speakers

Click the RECORDING link.

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