To What Extent are Japanese University Students Successful in Motivating Themselves to Learn English through Project-based Language Education? An Assessment of Students after Two Years of PBL-based English Language Education

  •  Chiho Toyoshima    
  •  Tsukasa Yamanaka    
  •  Kohei Sugiyama    


The objective of this study is to evaluate the efficacy of project-based learning (PBL) methods in teaching English at the Japanese university level from the perspective of motivational research. The case study focuses on the Project-based English Program (PEP) at a large private university in Japan, examining whether the program not only enhances English proficiency, but also motivates students to a higher level of self-determination. By analyzing these outcomes, this paper discusses the added value of PBL-based English education in terms of its effectiveness in motivating students. The analysis reveals that PEP has improved the English proficiency of the participants over the two-year curriculum, and that in terms of motivation, PEP has been successful to some extent in cultivating identified regulation, a relatively high level of self-determination among extrinsic motivation for English language learning. The results also indicate that the group tended to develop intrinsic motivation, a motivation with an even higher level of self-determination, suggesting that PBL-style classes are effective in facilitating the acquisition of high self-determined motivation. However, the results for stimulation, one aspect of intrinsic motivation, tended to show almost no acquisition, and the results for introjected regulation, an extrinsic motivation, were also scattered, suggesting that learners may retain some hesitation, conflict, and stress according to motivation theory. These findings can be utilized to improve educational programs in the future.

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