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Learner Autonomy Timeline (2): International Initiatives

Compiled by Richard C. Smith

Please inform me of any inaccuracies / omissions / desired additions (




Symposium on Languages in Adult Education in Ruschlikon, Switzerland: Committee for Out-of-School Education set up small working group to examine the feasibility of a European unit-credit scheme for language in adult education. The working group set down the basic principles, including ‘language learning is a life-long activity’ (Trim 2001)


Council of Europe’s Modern Languages Project established in 1971 (Trim 1978), aiming initially to provide adults with opportunities. for lifelong learning. (Gremmo and Riley 1995: 153). For the first decade and more of its existence the Modern Languages Project concentrated on the language needs of migrant workers (Gremmo and Riley 1995: 153).


According to (Esch-Harding 1977), three reports coming out of Modern Languages Project were:

(1974) Modern Languages in Adult Education;

(1975) Permanent Education: A Framework for Recurrent Education and

(1976) Permanent Education. The basis and essentials.





Candelier, M., P. Chaix, D. Coste, C. O’ Neil and A. Recourd (Ecole Normale Supérieure de Saint-Cloud). 1975. ‘A critical analyis of forms of autonomous learning (autodidaxy and semi-autonomy) in the field of foreign language learning: Report and proposals for establishing a regional inventory of methods and materials for self-learning of modern languages in Europe’. UNESCO, Division of Methods, Materials and Techniques. (as cited in Harding-Esch 1977 biblio.).




13–15 December. Cambridge Seminar on ‘ Self-directed learning and autonomy’ Papers published as Harding-Esch 1977 Attended by (inter alia) Chaix, Dickinson, Harding-Esch, Holec, Meara, Riley, Stanchina, Trim).





10–11 February. Paris (UNESCO) meeting. Report published as Candelier, M., P. Chaix, D. Coste, C. O’Neil and A. Recourd. 1977. ‘Compte rendu de la rencontre organisée a l’UNESCO (Paris 10–11.2.77) sur le thème: Etude des modalités d’a pprentissage autonome (autodidaxie et semi-autonomie) dans le domaine de l’acquisition des languages vivantes secondes’. (source: Harding-Esch 1977 bibliography]




Workshop in Køge (Denmark) within the Candlin, Edelhof, Piepho series of workshops. Leni was to present her work, and because by then her classroom work had developed to encompass all factors of the Holec definition (1980) we decided to use that within this International/European context. (GG)





[First Nordic Workshop on] Developing Autonomous Learning in the FL Classroom, 1986, September 18-21, Køge,Denmark (org. Gerd Gabrielsen (Danmarks Lærerhøjskole) and Leni Dam (Karlslunde skole)). Report published as Gabrielsen 1987.


Foundation of IATEFL Learner Independence SIG (newsletter: Independence)







[Second Nordic Workshop on Developing Autonomous Learning in the FL Classroom], 1987, Helsinki, Finland (org. Viljo Kohonen, University of Tampere).





Third Nordic Workshop on Developing Autonomous Learning in the FL Classroom, 1989, August, Bergen, Norway (org. Turid Trebbi). Report published as Trebbi 1990.





Fourth Nordic Conference on Developing Autonomous Learning in the Foreign Language Classroom 1991, 29 August – 1 September, Karlstad, Sweden (org. Rigmor Eriksson). Report published as Miliander (1995).


Intergovernmental Symposium in Rüschlikon, Switzerland, hosted by Swiss Federal Authorities, on "Transparency and Coherence in Language Learning in Europe: Objectives, Evaluation, Certification". This symposium found that a Common European Framework for languages was needed. As a result of the symposium, the Swiss National Science Foundation set up a project to develop levels of proficiency, to lead on to the creation of a "European Language Portfolio" – certification in language ability which can be used across Europe. (Wikipedia: ‘ Common European Framework for Languages’, accessed 21/8/06)




AILA Conference, in Amsterdam. AILA Scientific Commission on Learner Autonomy established this year? (co-convenors: Leslie Dickinson and Anita Wenden)





Hong Kong ‘Taking Control’ conference at HKUST. Papers published as Pemberton et al. 1996.





Fifth Nordic Conference on Developing Autonomous Learning in the Foreign Language Classroom, 1995, 24-27 August, Copenhagen (org. Leni Dam). Report published as Gabrielsen 1997.





AILA Conference, Jyväskylä, Finland. Scientific Commission symposium (proceedings published as Crabbe and Cotterall, 1999). AILA Scientific Commission Co-Convenors (1996– 1999) = Anita Wenden, Sarah Cotterall, Leni Dam (the latter two newly elected at the Conference).




6th [‘Nordic’] Conference on Developing Autonomous Learning in the Foreign Language Classroom, 1997, 3-6 September, Barcelona (org. Ramon Ribé). Proceedings published as Ribé. (n.d. [2000])

Autonomy 2000: The Development of Learning Independence in Language Learning Conference, King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Thonburi, Thailand. Proceedings published as Dickinson 1997.





April: Two-day international colloquium entitled ‘Learner Autonomy, Teacher Autonomy: Future Directions’, Centre for Research into Second and Foreign Language Pedagogy, University of Nottingham, UK. Proceedings published as Sinclair, McGrath and Lamb 2000.


IATEFL LI SIG conference in Kraków, Poland (org. by Leni Dam). Proceedings published as Little, Dam and Timmer 2000.




AILA Conference, Tokyo. SC on Learner Autonomy symposium (org. by Leni Dam) (Proceedings published as Dam 2001)




7th Nordic Conference and Workshop on Autonomous Language Learning, 2000, 7-9 September, Helsinki, Finland (org. Felicity Kjisik, Leena Karlsson, Joan Nordlund). Proceedings published as: Karlsson, Kjisik and Nordlund (n.d. [2000?])


European Language Portfolio began to be validated (source: Council of Europe website)




AILA Conference, Singapore. SC on Learner Autonomy symposium org. by Terry Lamb and Bill Savage on ‘ Relationships between learner and teacher autonomy: concepts, realities and responses’ [Proceedings publ. 2008, ed. Terry Lamb and Hayo Reinders]. Follow-up discussion on AUTO-L in Autumn 2002.

Leni Dam plenary speaker at IATEFL conference.


Canarian Conference on Developing Autonomy in the Classroom, 2003, 26 February – 1 March, Tenerife, Spain (org. Leslie Bobb-Wolff, José Luis Vera Batista). Proceedings published as Bobb-Wolff and Vera Batista 2006.

Inaugural conference of the Independent Learning Association, Melbourne September 13-14 2003 (Proceedings published as Reinders et al. 2004).





Hong Kong and Hangzhou conference (‘ Maintaining Control’), org. R. Pemberton and Sarah Toogood (10th anniversary of ‘Taking Control’ conference). Conference proceedings in five publications (Fan and Pang 2005 [in Chinese], Benson 2007, Gardner 2007 and Miller 2007 [all for Authentik], and Pemberton, Toogood and Barfield 2008).


2004 Brunets Seminar (Turid Trebbi, Henri Holec and others). Conclusions reported in Independence 38: 6–9.






AILA Wisconsin. SC Commission on Learner Autonomy symposium.






IATEFL Learner Independence SIG changes its name to Learner Autonomy SIG [source: Independence 38]


9th Nordic Conference on Developing Learner Autonomy in Language Learning and Teaching: Status and Ways Ahead after Twenty Years, 2006, 31 August – 2 September, Copenhagen (org. Leni Dam) (Proceedings published, ed. Dam 2008).



Independent Learning Association conference in Tokyo, October. Theme: Exploring Theory, Enhancing Practice: Autonomy across the Disciplines. Proceedings published, ed. Carroll, Cooker and Irie 2009.



AILA Congress in Essen, Germany: AILA Research Network on Learner Autonomy symposium



Independent Learning Association conference in Hong Kong, June. Theme: Independent Learning: Building on experience, seeking new perspectives

10th Nordic Conference, Bergen, Norway





[Projected] AILA Congress in Beijing, China: AILA Research Network on Learner Autonomy symposium

















































RS 29/08/06