• Alice Chik
  • Naoko Aoki
  • Richard Smith


This introductory chapter provides background to and outlines the main arguments for exploring new research agendas in autonomy in language learning and teaching research. As research on autonomy in language teaching and learning approaches the four-decade mark, the field is rapidly moving in different directions. However, the most recent overview of the field was published ten years ago (Benson, Lang Teach 40:21–40, 2007). Picking up from Benson’s (Lang Teach 40:21–40, 2007) state-of-the-art article, this introductory chapter overviews various relatively recent developments in autonomy research with learners and with teachers and briefly summarizes the contribution of each chapter.


Learner autonomy Research agenda 



The research agendas presented in this volume began life as moderated discussions on the AILA Research Network for Learner Autonomy discussion board, AUTO-L, when we were joint coordinators of the network (2011–2014). They benefitted considerably from feedback at the 2014 AILA Congress in Brisbane, Australia, and subsequent peer review. We thank all those who have helped with their feedback in the process of construction of this volume.


  1. Aoki, N., & Smith, R. (1999). Autonomy in cultural context: The case of Japan. In S. Cotterall & D. Crabbe (Eds.), Learner autonomy in language learning: Defining the field and effecting change, Bayreuth contributions to glottodidactics (Vol. 8, pp. 19–28). Frankfurt am Main, Germany: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  2. Benson, P. (2007). Autonomy in language teaching and learning. Language Teaching, 40, 21–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Benson, P. (2011). Teaching and researching autonomy (2nd ed.). London: Pearson Longman.Google Scholar
  4. Littlewood, W. (1999). Defining and developing autonomy in East Asian contexts. Applied Linguistics, 20(1), 71–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Reinders, H., & White, C. (2016). 20 years of autonomy and technology: How far have we come and where to next? Language Learning & Technology, 20(2), 143–154. Retrieved from

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alice Chik
    • 1
  • Naoko Aoki
    • 2
  • Richard Smith
    • 3
  1. 1.Educational StudiesMacquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia
  2. 2.Graduate School of LettersOsaka UniversityKobeJapan
  3. 3.Centre for Applied LinguisticsUniversity of WarwickCoventryUK

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