LD SIG Forums

Updated June 30, 2020

LD SIG Forums in 2020

The LD SIG Programme Team organized forums at the following JALT conferences in 2020:

  • PanSIG 2020 – Online, June 20-21, 2020
  • JALTCALL 2020 – Online, June 5-7, 2020
  • JALT2020 – Online, November 20-23, 2020

Many thanks to those able to join us at the Learner Development SIG Forums in June and November 2020.


(1) PanSIG 2020

Online: pansig202.eventzil.la (June 20-21)

Saturday, June 20 from 16:45-18:15

Theme: Active Learning


James Underwood (Chuo University), Encouraging Active Learning through the Sustainable Development Goals

Keywords: CLIL, academic literacy, Learner Development, self-directed research

This presentation will report on how the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) can be incorporated into the classroom. Over the course of 5 weeks, students selected a SDG as the focus for a self-directed research project. Each week they researched their SDG and made 2 pages of notes and shared these notes in class. At the end of the project cycle, each student formally presented their findings and lead a discussion on the SDG. After their presentation, they reflected on the development of their content knowledge and language skills.


Greg Rouault (Hiroshima Shudo University), Applying Mind, Brain, and Education (MBE) Science for “Active Learning”

Keywords: materials adaptation, learner engagement, neuroscience

This interactive presentation is based on the research into Mind, Brain, and Education Science (MBE) by Tracey Tokuhama-Espinosa (2010a, 2010b, 2014). At the intersection of neuroscience, education, and psychology, MBE presents a scientifically-grounded approach for improved teaching and learner development. Drawing from what is known about the brain while also debunking neuromyths, this workshop introduces 7 neuro-ELT practices adaptable for materials and coursebooks to engage learners and guide active learning across a range of language skills.


(2) JALTCALL 2020

Online: jaltcall2020.eventzil.la (June 5-7)

Sunday, June 7 from 10:00 to 11:10

CALL & Learner Development Forum: Learning Transformations with Schoology, online workbooks, and Google Suites

Forum abstract:

The Learner Development SIG Forum at JALTCALL 2020 is an interactive event featuring Learning Transformations, CALL approaches that are changing the way teachers and learners are focused on learner development. The aim of this forum is to critically explore the practical experiences of both learners and teachers in CALL. This LD Forum consists of 3 presentations. First, Ivan Lombardi will present some of the affordances and challenges of going paperless using the Schoology LMS. In particular, the presentation will focus on transformations in speaking activities, assignment submissions, and online readings. Next, Blair Barr will critically compare two publisher-developed online workbooks with a self-developed workbook using a combination of the Manaba LMS and Google tools. In particular, he will outline the advantages of taking control over the workbook development and how students benefited from this approach. Finally, Rachelle Meilleur and Michael Barr focus on autonomy and identify changes they have witnessed as they have begun the process of implementing activities based on Google Suites. After the presentations, time will be provided for reflection and discussion on key discoveries. At the end of the forum, short written reflections will then be collected to initiate a shared reflective piece for the Learner Development SIG’s newsletter, Learning Learning.


Ivan Lombardi (University of Fukui), How an LMS transforms students’ approaches to learning: An overview

Keywords: Schoology, LMS, progress visualization, blended learning

Five years after adopting Schoology for the first time, this LMS is now a foundation for every course I teach. From EFL classes to specialized content courses, this platform has changed not only my teaching practices but also my students’ approaches to learning. This presentation will be an overview of three “transformations” made possible by Schoology, and what students think of them, based on informal interviews and semester-end feedback. The first change is in progress visualization. This is especially the case in the EFL speaking and public speaking courses I teach, where students use Schoology to record themselves, keep a portfolio of their speaking, and reflect on their performances. The second change is in assignment submissions, and how this transforms the way students receive and implement feedback from the instructor, especially in English composition courses. The third change is in how students approach reading online, and the affordances and challenges of going paperless.


Rachelle Meilleur and Michael Barr (Kyoto University of Foreign Studies), Integrating Google Suites into an Autonomous Learning Project

Keywords: autonomy, CALL, learner development 

Over the past five years, we have been developing an autonomous learning project to help students develop their abilities and skills as language learners. Although some aspects of the project focused on using technology, it has, for the most part, remained a mostly analog exercise. However, over the past year, the goal of our project has been to take advantage of a range of G-Suite applications which are available to all incoming first-year students. Students created study trackers, language learning histories, and shared ‘resources discovery’ materials. We tested and developed collaborative shared documents, sheets, and slides in order to achieve this. While this is a relatively new and ongoing study, lessons learned through this process should be of great interest to educators interested in expanding the reach – and horizons – of their classes and students.


Blair Barr (Tamagawa University, Otsuma Women’s University), Online Workbooks: Doing It Yourself for the Students

Keywords: online workbooks, Manaba, Google Suites

Online workbooks have become increasingly popular with publishers in order to provide teachers online content to supplement textbooks. These online workbooks aim to free teachers from the need to develop extra materials for their classes, and they provide teachers with the ability to browse and choose which activities they would like to assign to their particular classes. However, in practice, these solutions often present a set of problems that teachers cannot manage independently. In addition, students often feel that their access is restricted or that their own best interests are being ignored with a simple solution. In this presentation, the online workbooks provided by two publishing companies will be compared with a workbook developed with testing features of the school’s LMS (Manaba) and supplemented with Google Suites. In particular, the advantages of taking control over the workbook development and the benefits this provides students will be highlighted.


(3) JALT2020 

Online: website pending (November 20-23)

Theme: TLC: Transformative Learning Communities

Submission Deadline: Closed

Presentations in the Learner Development (LD) SIG Forum at JALT2020 will critically explore the theme of Transformative Learning Communities, based on the theory of transformative learning, where people experience a fundamental shift in their world view from consciously reflective approaches to learning. What happens when teachers and learners are required to take such an approach to language learning? In addition to considering approaches to learning in practice, topics may also include critical explorations of the theme as it relates to such things as teacher training, independent study, research, policy, and study abroad, to name a few. Timed rounds of interactive poster-style presentations will be followed by reflections for the LD SIG’s newsletter, Learning Learning.