Learner autonomy or autonomous learning is defined as taking charge and being responsible for one’s own learning . Learner autonomy or independent learning skills has become one of the vital skills required from learners of various age groups. Moreover, the extent to which learners are independent has become a measure of teacher’s success and quality of teaching . Autonomous learning is one of the crucial factors, which helps students to achieve higher academic performance and improves their learning capacity. Previously it was thought that independent learning was attributed to adults only. Later, research showed that it is applicable to any age groups with slight changes in learning techniques .
Since portfolio has been regarded as one of the key tools in developing learner autonomy, the topic of learner autonomy has been widely studied from the perspective of portfolio pedagogy.
Little  states that language portfolio is capable of providing the measures in implementing learner autonomy development on a larger scale. Little  believes the capabilities of a portfolio in fostering reflective learning and goal setting plays a principal role in developing leaners’ autonomous language learning skills.
Autonomous learning has different characteristics and varies depending on learner’s capacity, attitude and attribute towards learning, as a result which each learner has specific contexts and ways to develop the skills of being autonomous in learning . This also coincides with the functions of portfolio pedagogy, specifically language portfolio, where learners or owners of portfolio reflect on the context they learn best and identify their own capacities in language learning, thus set specific aims and tasks in their own learning.
Holec  believes that learner autonomy is not an inborn skill, instead it’s developed through practice and efforts. In this respect the capacities of a portfolio in providing scaffolding for learners in their development is hard to underestimate. Portfolio being a personal document enables its owners to keep records of their development through time and reflect on their trials and fails in their learning. In addition, portfolio provides milestones for learners to measure their learning achievements and motivates them for further deployment of their time and efforts in learning process.
In learner autonomy development, monitoring the learner is a key to success. Benson  suggests that learners do not start working independently unless it was suggested or motivated to do so. He also believes that autonomy should be developed and activated through persistence . According to Little , observations of their learning behavior help students to determine their autonomy in learning, which is a function central to portfolio pedagogy.
Another problem in developing and sustaining learner autonomy is making learners’ educational objectives visible or tangible. Bonnet and Cuypers  imply that making learner’s performance and the outcome of studies more effective requires control and monitoring. Monitoring learning means setting objectives and evaluating the achievements of targets. Language portfolio with its self-assessment checklist provides this opportunity for learners. By completing self-assessment checklists, students identify their present level of language proficiency and set objectives in moving towards higher levels of proficiency.
Bonnet and Cuypers  also highlight the fact that in spite of students’ performance and achievements the aim of studying should be specific and critically planned. After completing this requirement studying becomes more dynamic, because learning is based on learner’s own benefits and needs.
Another substantial way of developing learner autonomy is related to learning strategies. According to Dalziel , it is crucial for learners to develop metacognitive awareness of their learning strategies by reflecting on their learning experiences. In this relation, Dalziel  also points out that competing portfolio related tasks in the target language is a driving force in developing learner autonomy.
As it was discussed above the role of portfolio pedagogy in developing learner autonomy in language learning is immense. Portfolio by providing planning, objective setting and scaffolding enables the learners to become independent in the process of education. In addition, portfolio enables its users to think of and reflect on learning as a process but not just as a habitual or accidental event.