Learning - Our History

The Learning Conference began its life in Sydney, Australia in 1989, focusing on genre approaches to literacy, and auspiced by the Literacy and Education Research Network. Since then, the focus of the conference has broadened to encompass as one of its themes ‘Multiliteracies’ or a broader range of communications than conventionally understood under the rubric of alphabetical literacy. The conference has also extended its interest into learning more generally, and particularly, the question of ‘new learning’ or the necessary transformations underway in teaching and learning in contemporary social, cultural and technological conditions.

The Learning Conference is now held annually in different locations around the world, each selected for the particular role education is playing in social change. The Conference was held in association with Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia in 1999; RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia in 2000; the University of Athens, in Spetses, Greece in 2001; Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China in 2002; Institute of Education, London University, London, UK in 2003; Institute of Pedagogical Sciences, Havana, Cuba in 2004; University of Granada, Granada, Spain in 2005; Sam Sharpe Teachers College, Montego Bay, Jamaica in 2006; University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa in 2007; the University of Illinois, Chicago, USA in 2008; the University of Barcelona, Spain in 2009; the Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong in 2010; University of Mauritius, Mauritius 2011; The Institute of Education, University of London in 2012; The University of the Aegean at Rhodes, Greece in 2013; Lander College at Touro College, New York City, USA in 2014; and Universidad San Pablo CEU, Madrid, Spain in 2015.

The conference is now complemented by a family of ten journals crossing a broad range of themes in the field of education, as well as an annual review journal publishing articles of broad interest across the field. The result has been the creation of a remarkable body of cutting edge knowledge in the field of education—some 4,000 peer reviewed articles in all. The journal is also supplemented by The Learner, a rapidly growing companion book series, and an online knowledge community hosted in our Scholar platform and complementary social media. 

The Learner knowledge community—the conference, journal, book series and online community—has over the years become a major influence on education. Its key players have been, and continue to be, major influences in the defining the scope and direction of literacy, multimodality, and new learning.