Centre for the Study of Lifelong Language Learning

The Centre fosters scholarship and research in areas of language learning and teaching

The Centre was established in January 2007 and has close links with the Department of Education through its Director, Dr Robert Vanderplank, as well as a number of research members and students taking courses or undertaking research in applied linguistics and related subjects.

Aims of the Centre

– To foster scholarship and research in areas of language learning and teaching which have been left largely to practitioners.

– To marry academic and research interests in mature and younger language learners from a variety of perspectives.

– To strengthen links between the college and university departments with which it already has well-established links in teaching and research.

– To identify means of improving and supporting lifelong language learning, particularly for those who may not be natural or gifted language learners or who may not have had advantages such as foreign travel, contact with foreign cultures or appropriate educational support earlier in life.

– To promote research into developing our understanding of lifelong language learning supported by both older technologies (e.g. television/radio) and newer technologies (e.g. social media, online resources and gaming).

Current projects

– The Centre maintains the Language Attrition Research Archive (laraoxord.org.uk). This site is a bibliographical resource on natural language loss (first and second language attrition, language re-learning). Our aim is to provide a research tool for those interested in the loss of languages, either in individuals (language attrition) or in groups (language shift/death).

– Captioned viewing and foreign language learning. The project is following up the pilot work of the EURECAP Project investigating the value of captions (same language subtitles intended for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) for adult learners of French, German, Italian and Spanish. (R. Vanderplank, Captioned Media in Language Learning and Teaching, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

– An up-to-date and comprehensive database of published research and doctoral dissertations involving captions and language learning is available at Günter Burger’s website: www.fremdsprache-und-spielfilm.de/Captions.htm

– Autonomous/independent and informal language learning. Dr Jason Cole and Dr Robert Vanderplank are following up Dr Cole’s doctoral research on fully autonomous language learners in Brazil.  The world of language learning is changing rapidly. Globally, people are taking advantage of the opportunities offered by online language learning, social media and video streaming alongside traditional class-based teaching and distance language learning courses. The college, as a multilingual, international institution with its members spread over the world, is ideally placed to provide an up-to-date perspective on the new world order in informal language learning.

Lynn Erler Lecture

The Centre hosts this lecture, usually held annually, named in honour of a former member of Kellogg, Dr Lynn Erler, who was an associate of the Centre and passionate advocate for lifelong language learning until her death in 2013. Previous speakers have been Professor Vera Busse, Carl von Ossietzky, University of Oldenburg, Professor Monika Schmid, University of Essex, Dr Jason Cole, University of Oxford and Professor Gregory Hadley, Niigata University, Japan.

Current members/associates

  • Dr Robert Vanderplank, Emeritus Fellow, Kellogg and Director of the Centre.
  • Dr Jess Briggs, Post-doctoral Research Fellow, Kellogg and Departmental Lecturer, Department of Education, University of Oxford.
  • Professor Gregory Hadley, Visiting Professor at Kellogg, Professor of English, Niigata University, Japan.
  • Dr Jason Cole, former DPhil student, now Kellogg alumnus and co-researcher with Dr Robert Vanderplank


All enquiries about the Centre should be addressed in the first instance to Dr Robert Vanderplank, robert.vanderplank@kellogg.ox.ac.uk