Re-engineering self-access language centers: Reaching out to students and promoting learner autonomy

Wai Kei Vickie Li, Wai Kin Ching

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Teaching and learningpeer-review


This chapter reports a research project that aims to re-engineer the self-access language center (SALC) of a Hong Kong university. With the advancements in technology and an increasingly diverse student population, SALCs need to transform from simply libraries of self-study learning materials to engaging learning spaces that can cultivate independent and autonomous learners. The present project has three main phases. In Phase 1, an online questionnaire survey and focus group interviews were conducted to collect center users’ views on the learning materials, facilities and language support services provided by the center. Center users’ feedback informs and shapes the changes made to the center during Phase 2. The re-engineering stage focuses on five main areas: i) redesigning the layout of the center, ii) revising and reorganizing the center’s existing materials, iii) developing more and varied learning materials, iv) organizing more theme-week workshops, and v) providing regular language support services. Phase 3 focuses on the evaluation of the changes made to the center. Feedback was collected from center users through questionnaire and interviews regarding their perception towards the redesigned center. Center users generally had positive attitudes towards the changes made. They valued the welcoming and motivating learning environment, the variety of learning materials available as well as the more regular and frequent consultation services at the center. The strategies adopted in this project to transform a SALC offer insights into the redesign of SALCs of other universities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLanguage Center Handbook 2021
EditorsElizabeth Lavolette, Angelika Kraemer
Place of PublicationUnited States
PublisherInternational Association for Language Learning Technology
Number of pages173
ISBN (Print)9-781946-123053
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2021


  • Self-access language centers
  • learner autonomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Re-engineering self-access language centers: Reaching out to students and promoting learner autonomy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this