The evolution of learner autonomy in online environments : a case study in a New Zealand context
Zhong, Dr. Qunyan ( Maggie)
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Citation:Zhong, Q. (2018). The evolution of learner autonomy in online environments: A case study in a New Zealand context. Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, 9(1), 71-85.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/4417
With the advent of technologies, language learners are faced with unprecedented opportunities and a wide range of alternatives to engage with in their self-directed learning. However, a review of the literature indicates that studies investigating how learner autonomy is shaped and reshaped in online learning environments are under-researched (Reinders & White, 2016). Using a case study method, the primary objective of this study is to examine how a learner engaged with technology-mediated environments to meet his learning needs and goals and how his autonomy evolved in online environments. A qualitative analysis of the interview data collected at two different timescales reveals new developments in the learner’s autonomous learning. Instead of using limited online materials, the learner became a critical user of multiple online sources. Additionally, the learning conditions he was exposed to in New Zealand fostered an interdependent and social dimension in his autonomous learning. By the end of this research study, he was also found to be more capable of regulating his self-directed study. The results corroborate the argument that the notion of learner autonomy is fluid and dynamic, suggesting that apart from psychological factors of the learner, environmental factors, e.g. the guidance from the teacher and learning conditions also play a critical role in the formation of different dimensions of learner autonomy