Turning a self-access centre into a social hub

by | 25 July 2017

When she took over the self-access centre at Hong Kong Education University, Dr Jessie Choi realised that ‘physical learning material was no longer a strong attraction.’ This is the story of her vision of a new approach to self-access language learning, based on social interaction.

In this post, published earlier this year, Julia Ker of the University of Surrey said that ‘it’s fundamental to the success of the [self-access centre] resources that staff are involved.’ This is echoed in a fascinating paper by Jessie Choi of Hong Kong Education University: ‘It was difficult for students, especially first-year ones, to know how they could use the self-access centre to help with their learning, it was thus important that teachers could help to “push” their students to visit the Centre by giving them tasks that had to be finished there. The Centre could then provide interesting and interactive tasks that “pulled” students to continue their visits.’

In the paper, Dr Choi describes how she aimed to transform an existing self-access centre into ‘a gathering place for social learning’. She lays out the theory and practice that resulted in visitor numbers rising from 4,727 to 13,284 in the space of just one year.

Read the paper here.

Andrew Stokes, Publisher, ClarityEnglish

Andrew Stokes, Publisher, ClarityEnglish


  1. Said Ahmed Al Busaidi

    This is a very interesting issue. Despite the challenges, still I strongly believe that Self Access Centers (SAC)could be one of the most effective tools for learning especially languages. I am very much interested to know more about any new methodology available in the market for using (SACs). In particular Iwoild like to know how teachers could be involved in the process of using SACs.

    • Andrew Stokes, Managing Director, ClarityEnglish

      Thanks for your comment. Maybe you will be interested in the post Why teachers are the key to effective self-access. This post can give you more ideas about how teachers are involved in the self-access centers.


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