Learner Autonomy with Technology:
What do language learners need to be successful?

TESOL 2002
CALL-IS Academic Session

Deborah Healey

Contact information
Deborah Healey, Ph.D.
Director, English Language Institute
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR 97331-1632
Fax: 541-737-0871



the related article (Word .doc file)


ELI Learning Center
Dissertation on learner choices in self-directed learning
Pronunciation self-study project
Current work with school districts
Definition of autonomy in language learning
Self-directed learning
Self-access setting
Control of time, location, pace, path, topic
Independent learning as a goal
"Good" language learner
Children vs. adults
Culture-bound concept
Technology claims
Supports different learning styles
Encourages independent learners
Provides resources
Offers curriculum
Learner needs
Linguistic - language data, rules, opportunity for practice
Metacognitive - path, way to judge progress on the path
Psychological - engagement, motivation, self-validation
Social - sense of community, community support
What technology can provide
Data, rules, practice, path (somewhat)
Fun factor, online community
What's missing
Productive practice
Consistent curriculum
Help with metacognition
Engagement with local community
Pitfalls to watch for
Getting lost, feeling overwhelmed by choice
Getting bored with repetition, losing focus
Being plugged into a machine, not classmates
Self-directed learning issues
More than just multimedia
Learners don't know how to learn well
(Tom Robb's presentation addresses this more)
Online learning community issues
More than a website
Need clear objectives, tasks, and accountability
Need variety
Designer/facilitator role
Provide missing links
Organize learning and community
Motivate and strengthen weak learners
Next steps: questions to ask
What are the underlying assumptions about teaching and learning?
How do learners know what to do?
What training is provided for facilitators?

Some Lightly Annotated Autonomy References

Last updated April 7, 2002 by D.Healey, deborah.healey@orst.edu