Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Validation of Self-Access Centres

Hi everyone

David Gardner, from the University of Hong Kong and of 'Establishing Self-Access' fame, has set up a discussion forum to encourage contributions to a project he is involved in regarding the validation of self-access centres. Below I'm pasting a message (in blue font) that David has sent out on various email discussion lists related to autonomy - apologies if anyone has received this through these means already. Why not take a minute to check out his forum, and even register and contribute your comments? I think this is a very exciting project that could result in a worthwhile system for all of us.

This is to let you know about a new forum that has been established as part of a project looking at the validation of self-access/independent learning centres. The purpose of the forum is to initiate a participatory approach to defining a set of standards and an evaluative system that is meaningful to all. Please take this opportunity to participate in the development of a system for validating SACs by joining us at:

For a slightly more detailed explanation of the background and goals to this project see below.

Looking forward to discussing with you online.

David Gardner (HKU) and Marina Chavez (UNAM)

Some More Background

In our paper at the ILAC conference in Hong Kong (June 2009) we discussed the benefits of a system for the validation of self-access centres. We proposed a system which evaluates self-access centres with reference to their own goals and contexts but also with reference to an agreed set of standards. Ultimately, the system could become the basis for a process of certification. We suggested such a system would be of benefit to self-access practitioners for purposes of self-development and to provide evidence of performance to host institutions and funding bodies.

In our paper we suggested that the only viable way forward is to develop a set of standards which define aspects of an effective SAC through a global participatory process. The goal of this process is to develop a system which is meaningful for all participants.

We have now established a discussion forum to start the participatory process. We envisage this forum will serve as a place for discussing ideas and also as a place to participate in formulating the standards that we hope will eventually emerge from the process.

At the moment the forum is very young so we need your participation to make it work. If you are interested in developing a system for validating self-access centres please sign up to the forum at: