Learner Development Journal Concept

The Learner Development Journal: News, Concept, and Proposals

updated November 8 2017

ISSN 2433-5401

One issue per year  



We are excited to announce that the inaugural issue of The Learner Development Journal (LDJ) will be going online very soon. Focusing on “Visualizing Learner Development,” the first issue includes six papers by teacher-researchers in Japan and other contexts, a commentary paper by Alice Chik, and an introductory article by Darren Elliott and Hugh Nicoll, the editors of Issue 1. Congratulations to Darren and Hugh, as well as all the contributors to the inaugural issue!

Writing and research for the second issue (due to be published in October 2018) on “Qualitative Research into Learner Development” are well under way (issue editors: Chika Hayashi, Masuko Miyahara, & Patrick Kiernan), while the Call for Proposals for Issue 3 of the LDJ on learner identities and transitions is now available (issue editors: Christina Gkonou, Jim Ronald, & Yoshio Nakai).

If you are interested in proposing a theme for Issue 4 or Issue 5 and forming an editorial team, please read the guidelines further below. You are very welcome to contact us by email too and/or talk with us at JALT2017 – many thanks in advance,

Alison Stewart, Andy Barfield, & Tim Ashwell (email addresses at the bottom of this page) Learner Development Journal Steering Group

Aims and scope of The Learner Development Journal

The Learner Development Journal (LDJ) is the online, open-access journal of the JALT Learner Development SIG. Published once a year, the LDJ is devoted to practitioner-driven research, reviews, and interviews exploring learner development issues in second language education.

The Learner Development Journal represents a commitment to group-based professional development and shared exploration. It provides a forum for members of the SIG and others to explore issues related to specific learner development themes in a collaborative and supportive environment. Contributors to The Learner Development Journal are encouraged to inquire into connections between practice and theory, to problematise, and to raise questions as well as provide answers about the learner development issues that interest them.

Rooted in a commitment to community, collaboration, and praxis, each issue of The Learner Development Journal publishes work on a particular learner development theme that the contributors of that issue explore together, under the leadership of the issue co-editors.

Each issue of The Learner Development Journal contains six to 10 papers of varying lengths related to the common theme, reviews of key texts, an interview with or a contribution from a key teacher/researcher in the field, and an introduction and conclusion written by the issue editor(s) to provide an overview and context to the whole collection of work.

Depending on the theme of the issue, contributors are encouraged to experiment and write in different genres, such as personal narrative, extended book review, dialogic exploration, multimodal report, poetry, as well as include video and other hyperlinks in their writing.


The Learner Development Journal is open to all SIG members. It also welcomes contributions from outside the SIG. As The Learner Development Journal is primarily driven by SIG members’ interests, the majority of contributors for any one issue of the journal will be SIG members.

Issue editors

The co-editors are jointly responsible for tendering a proposal for an issue of The Learner Development Journal and bringing together a group of contributors with a shared interest in exploring a particular theme together. The co-editors work with the contributors to develop papers to a point where they can be sent to the Review Network. They continue to work with authors as they engage with the reviewers’ comments, refine their texts, and finalise them for publication. The editors also agree a schedule in advance with the Learner Development Journal Steering Group, to enable the journal to be published online by a regular date each year. The issue co-editors are responsible for identifying and inviting researcher-practitioners from outside the SIG who would be willing to contribute to a particular issue, and for providing an overview of work relevant to the theme, as well as a conclusion raising questions from the body of work in that issue.

Proposals from SIG members who would like to act as issue editors for a particular theme are warmly welcomed. Ideas may be, initially, tentative, but can, through group discussion, collaboration and research, develop over time into a collection of papers around one theme. Ideas could be developed by groups at local get-togethers of the SIG or through online collaboration, for example. Themes could also emerge from forums that the SIG organises at different conferences.

Peer review process

Writers for The Learner Development Journal have a choice between blind and open peer review, conducted by members of the Review Network and guest reviewers invited for the issue. Contributors who prefer blind review will receive feedback anonymously from reviewers, while those who prefer open review will know who their reviewers are. In the case of open review, reviewers’ names will be included at the end of a published article. The intention in either blind or open review is to offer serious, fair and, above all, supportive feedback to writers to help them to develop as teachers, researchers, and learners.

Review network

Once papers have been developed between co-editors and writers, they will be passed on to a Review Network for feedback. The Review Network consists of Learner Development SIG members who are both interested in learner development issues in second language education and experienced in providing constructive and supportive feedback to writers. In addition to a core group of individuals, reviewers from outside the SIG may be invited to join the Review Network for a particular issue of the journal. Membership of the Review Network will change periodically as new people become involved in providing feedback to writers.

Journal steering group

The Journal Steering Group consists of a minimum of three members of the SIG Publications Committee who monitor the practice, process and production of each issue of the Journal. Membership of the Steering Group will change periodically as new people become involved in running the Journal.

Putting together a proposal for an issue of the Learner Development Journal (October 21 2017)

Preamble: If you are interested in editing(with one or more others) an issue on a theme relating to learner development, we would love to hear from you about your ideas and interests.

1. Possible themes for a future issue of the journal might include:

  • action research
  • assessment
  • content-based learning
  • creativity
  • critical literacy
  • digital literacy
  • globalization
  • international communities of learners
  • learner autonomy
  • learner development outside of formal education
  • learner emotion
  • learners as researchers
  • motivation
  • multilingualism
  • reflection
  • self-access
  • …,

all of which have been mentioned by LD members as potentially interesting areas to research and explore together.

2. You are welcome to propose other learner development themes too.

3. We are especially interested in practitioner research, student participatory research, and co-authored works.

4. If your proposal were accepted, the next step would be to prepare a Call for Papers.

5. The overall aim would be to bring together a group of contributors (6-10 papers, book reviews, interviews, and so on) to collaborate under your leadership as co-editors.

6. Contributors would work with each other to read and respond to one another’s work during the research and writing process.

7. For further details about what to put in your proposal, see below.

8. If you have any questions or would like to check any details with us, please feel free to contact us (contact addresses at the bottom of this page).

Guidelines: Please follow these guidelines in putting together your proposal.

1. Your first name and family name

2. Your email address

3. You are a Learner Development SIG member: Yes/No

4. Where you live (place, country)

5. Your role in this proposed issue (co-editor/contributor/undecided)

(a) If co-editor, the person you have in mind as the joint editor is:

(b) If contributor, the person(s) you have in mind as co-editor(s) is/are:

6. Explain in about 300-500 words what the theme is that you are proposing and why this theme would be (a) interesting and (b) important for Learner Development SIG members. Include also example questions, problems or puzzles that you and the other contributors would be interested in exploring, and why.

7. Explain how you imagine the shared exploration by contributors will be realized (for example, face-to-face meetings, local get-together discussions, Skype, email).

8. List the contributors (if known at this point) for particular parts of the issue, namely (a) 6-10 papers, (b) review(s) of key texts, (c) an interview with a key teacher/researcher in the field, and (d) introduction and conclusion written by the issue editor(s) providing an overview and context to the whole collection of work.

9. Any problems or difficulties that you anticipate

10. Any questions or concerns you have about the practice, process or production of an issue of the journal.

Note: You do not need to put yourself forward as co-editor in order to make a proposal for an issue of The Learner Development Journal. It may be that you are keenly interested in a particular theme to do with learner development and that you would like to see if your interest is shared by others.

Many thanks in advance – we’re looking forward to hearing from you,

Alison Stewart (stewart1411 AT MARK gmail DOT com)
Andy Barfield (barfield.andy AT MARK gmail DOT com)
Tim Ashwell (tashwell AT MARK komazawa-u DOT ac DOT jp)
Learner Development Journal Steering Group