Diego Navarro, Kanda University of International Studies, Japan
Navarro, D. (2011). Editorial. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 2(4), 238-240.

SiSAL Journal: Looking back at 2011

Welcome to the December 2011 issue of SiSAL Journal, a special issue highlighting success in a self-access learning context. Given that it is the final issue of 2011 we thought it fitting to start by sharing some of the successful endeavours the journal has been involved in this year. SiSAL is continuing to successfully expand its readership and range of accessibility, making it an increasingly important contributor to the practice of self-access education around the world. SiSAL Journal is now indexed in seven databases: DOAJ, Academia.edu, EBSCO, Open J-Gate, Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory, WilsonWeb and Google Scholar.

2011 saw SiSAL Journal publish special issues on four different areas of interest in self-access learning. The March issue on skills development and practice kicked off the year and featured many topical articles including one by Paul Kei Matsuda and Michelle Cox. This article addressed some of the challenges experienced by tutors working in writing centres by offering helpful strategies that writing tutors can use to work effectively with second language writers.

The June issue followed and looked at the different roles learners can play in self-access learning. One of the highlights of the issue was a description by Brian Morrison of self-directed learning modules designed to help learners accurately identify language learning needs for external exam preparation.

The September issue was quite a big issue, generating a lot of interest, both in terms of submissions and the number of readers who accessed it. It focused on the relationship between self-access learning and technology, specifically, CALL, E-learning and M-learning. The featured article by Mark Warschauer and Meei-Ling Liaw entitled ‘Emerging Technologies for Autonomous Language Learning’ examined the interplay between new technologies and the language learning needs of adult learners.

The December 2011 Issue

December winds down the year by looking at self-access success stories. We begin with four articles demonstrating the variety of ways success can be interpreted and presented within self-access learning.

Bruce Morrison’s article presents a research-based framework for the evaluation of self-access centres (SACs). The framework consists of four key interdependent elements which provide the ‘multidimensional aspect’ necessary for systematic evaluation of SACs. His study centralises the idea that evaluation of SACs needs to be grounded in relevant theory. In the introduction to the article by Bruce Morrison, the author considers the present-day relevance of a SAC evaluation model he designed several years ago.

The second article by Chris King, investigated a portfolio project meant to introduce learners to self-access learning and raise awareness of the different learning options available for successful out of-class learning. Results of the study indicate that a majority of learners spent more time learning outside of the classroom and felt that the portfolio project helped them discover effective ways to improve their English.

Using a narrative study approach to frame her investigation, Atsumi Yamaguchi’s article reveals how a student staff member’s experience of working in a self-access centre led to the successful enhancement of her ability to take control over her learning.

The fourth article by Leander Hughes, Nathan Krug, and Stacey Vye examines how the promotion of ‘autonomous socialisation’ in a self-access centre resulted in a significant increase in the number of learners using the centre as well as the creation of out-of-class L2 learning communities.

Following the articles we present three stories which look at success in a self access learning context. The first story by Jim McKinley describes how the implementation of workshops designed to raise awareness of the benefits of a university writing centre led to improved student and faculty attitude towards the service as well as increased student uptake.

The second story by Elton LaClare describes the efforts of volunteers working at an independent learning centre in Korea to revive interest in the centre through a community project meant to enhance learner identification with the centre.

The final story by Lara Promnitz-Hayashi discusses how the introduction of Facebook activities helped increase student participation in discussion activities which helped lay the groundwork for more successful in-and-out of class L2 interaction.

We hope you will enjoy reading the final issue of SiSAL Journal of 2011 as much as we have enjoyed putting it together.

On behalf of SiSAL Journal I would like to wish everyone a happy new year – here’s to a wonderful 2012 and hoping that success finds you in all your future endeavours!

Notes on the author

Diego Navarro is the associate editor of SiSAL Journal and has been a member of the editorial team since 2010. He works as a learning advisor at Kanda University of International Studies in Japan. His areas of professional interest are self-directed learning, diversity in education, and learner beliefs.