Toward Transdisciplinarity in Computer-Assisted Language Learning


  • Philip Hubbard Stanford University
  • Jozef Colpaert University of Antwerp



transdisciplinarity, transdisciplinary, interdisciplinarity, interdisciplinary, multidisciplinarity, multidisciplinary, CALL, applied linguistics, framework, SLA


From its beginnings, computer-assisted language learning (CALL) has been widely seen as an enterprise that draws on inputs from multiple disciplines. Scholars tracking the development of such enterprises in other domains have developed generally accepted terminology distinguishing concepts of multidisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity, and transdisciplinarity along a continuum from lesser to greater integration, coherence, and synthesis. We begin with an overview of the three preceding concepts with particular attention to interdisciplinarity in contemporary CALL. We then explore the notion of transdisciplinarity as an emerging theme in applied linguistics, arguably the field most closely related to CALL. In the following section, we look at theoretical options that are less connected to single disciplinary positions and represent the interdisciplinary state of the field and its movement toward transdisciplinarity. We expand on the basic notion of CALL as a potential transdisciplinary field and provide a descriptive framework of transdisciplinary types. The final section offers a model for visualizing transdisciplinarity for CALL with accompanying examples, arguing for a set of common transdisciplinary notions and a lingua franca for CALL stakeholders from a range of disciplines to use when communicating. We conclude that the future of the field lies in a much stronger transdisciplinary orientation than is currently the case and call upon our colleagues to pursue the concept.

Author Biographies

Philip Hubbard, Stanford University

Philip Hubbard is Senior Lecturer in Linguistics and Director of English for Foreign Students in the Language Center at Stanford University, USA. Over the past three decades, he has published across a wide range of topics in computer assisted language learning (CALL), including most recently in teacher education, listening, and CALL theory. He is associate editor of Computer Assisted Language Learning and Language Learning & Technology. See

Jozef Colpaert, University of Antwerp

Jozef Colpaert teaches Instructional Design, Educational Technology and Computer Assisted Language Learning at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. He is editor of Computer Assisted Language Learning and organizer of the International CALL Research Conferences. He is currently working on the empirical and theoretical validation of educational engineering, a novel instructional design and research method. See   


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How to Cite

Hubbard, P., & Colpaert, J. (2019). Toward Transdisciplinarity in Computer-Assisted Language Learning. CALICO Journal, 36(2), 81–99.



Review article