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Centre for the Study of Lifelong Language Learning

The Centre for the Study of Lifelong Language Learning 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.

Current members/associates

  • Dr Robert Vanderplank, Emeritus Fellow, Kellogg and Director of the Centre.
  • Professor Gregory Hadley, Visiting Professor at Kellogg, Professor of Applied Linguistics and Cultural Studies, Niigata University, Japan.
  • Dr Imma Miralpeix, Visiting Fellow at Kellogg, Associate Professor, English Studies Department, Faculty of Philology, University of Barcelona
  • Dr Jason Cole, Kellogg alumnus and co-researcher with Dr Robert Vanderplank

The Centre aims to strengthen links between the College and university departments, with which it already has well-established links in teaching and research, and to foster scholarship and research in areas of language learning and teaching which have been left largely to practitioners, especially in informal learning contexts.

It works to marry academic and research interests in mature and younger language learners from a variety of perspectives to identify means of improving and supporting lifelong language learning. In particular, it supports 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.

The Centre also promotes 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, gaming).

Language Attrition Research Archive

The Centre maintains this Archive at

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 EURECAP Project is 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; R. Vanderplank, “Gist watching can only take you so far”:  Attitudes, strategies and changes in behaviour in watching films with captions, Language Learning Journal, 2019, DOI:10.1080/09571736.2019.1610033).

Research Database

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:

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.

The Lynn Erler Lecture

The Centre hosts this lecture, 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, University of Muenster, Professor Monika Schmid, University of Essex, Dr Jason Cole, University of Oxford, and Professor Gregory Hadley, Niigata University, Japan.

External engagement

The centre welcomes enquiries and proposals to participate in joint activities. Since 2017, it has been a partner in Language Acts and Worldmaking (, one of the flagship projects in the AHRC Open World Research Initiative, which aims to regenerate and transform modern language learning by foregrounding the power of language to shape how we live and make our worlds.

Currently, the centre is involved in the Sound Waves Foundation’s project investigating the value of ‘live-captioning’ in schools to assist deaf/hard-of-hearing, English as an additional language, and neuro-diverse children in their learning.

All enquiries about the Centre should be addressed in the first instance to Dr Robert Vanderplank,