E-learning systems are changing education and organizational training considerably. With the advancement of online-based learning systems, learner control over the instructional process has emerged as a decisive factor in technology-based forms of learning. However, conceptual work on the role of learner control in e-learning has not advanced sufficiently to predict how autonomous learning impacts e-learning effectiveness. To extend the research on the role of learner control in e-learning and to examine its impact on e-learning effectiveness, we review 54 empirical articles on learner control during the period 1996-2013. We then apply our findings to derive a conceptual framework as a reference model to illustrate how learner control affects e- learning effectiveness. Our findings provide new insights into the role and different dimensions of learner control in e-learning, and reveal the implication for learning processes and learning outcomes.