Problem Statement: Teaching a language with the help of computers and the Internet has attracted the attention of many practitioners and researchers in the last 20 years, so the number of studies that investigate whether computers and the Internet promote language learning continues to increase. These studies have focused on exploring the beliefs and attitudes of learners and teachers towards computers and the Internet or on inquiring whether computers and the Internet increase the achievement levels of learners or enhance students’ awareness of other cultures. Despite the widespread use of computers and the Internet in educational settings, a small number of research studies have investigated the role of Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) in promoting learner autonomy. This study will contribute to the literature on the ways that CALL environments foster learner autonomy.
Purpose: The aim of this study is to utilize language learning environments equipped with technology to develop learner autonomy. There are four behavioural indicators of autonomy: using language learning strategies; a high motivation level to learn the English language; taking responsibility for one’s own learning; and continued English language study outside the classroom.
Method: Forty-eight intermediate-level students at a private university in Ankara, Turkey participated in this study. The students were divided into two groups: the Strategy Training Group (STG) and the Non-Strategy Training Group (NSTG). The students in the STG received a five-week language learning strategy training through CALL, while the participants in the NSTG followed the university’s regular curriculum. Data were collected by means of questionnaires, semi-structured face-to-face interviews, classroom observations, e-learning diaries, and the five-week language learning strategy training through CALL.
Findings and Results: The results of the study indicate that the students in the STG displayed improvement in their usage of language learning strategies, had higher motivation, were more willing to take responsibility for their own learning, and were engaged in extra-curricular study by means of CALL compared to the students in the NSTG.
Conclusions and Recommendations: Becoming autonomous learners necessitates readiness on the part of the students. Therefore, it is important for instructors to know whether their students are ready to develop autonomy. Autonomous learning differs from conventional foreign language education in the sense that the primary focus of autonomous learning is on the learners’ individual awareness of the learning process. Therefore, it would be beneficial for curriculum units in language teaching institutions to revise course objectives and to design classroom activities that promote learner autonomy.
Keywords: CALL, learner autonomy, learning strategies, motivation, taking responsibility, extra-curricular study, language learning