A General Review of Learner Autonomy

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Chapter 2 Literature Review
2.1 A General Review on Leaner Autonomy
2.1.1.Definitions of Leaner Autonomy
2.1.2 Theoretical Background of Autonomous Learning Humanism
2.1.3 Teachers’ Role in Autonomous Learning
2.2 Input Theory
2.2.1 Krashen’s theory of language acquisition
2.2.2 Input hypothesis in second language aquisition
2.2.3 The language input in autonomous learning
2.3 Web-Based Language Teaching and Learning
2.3.1The development of web-based language teaching
2.3.2 web-based language learning and input thoery
2.4 Assessment in autonomous learning

2.1 A General Review on Learner Autonomy
Two classic definitions of autonomy influenced my study a lot when I set up my research programme.The first was put forward by Henri Holec in 1981, and the second by David Little in 1991. 2.1.1 Definitions of Autonomy

“Learner autonomy is when the learner is willing and capable of taking charge of his/her own learning. The learner should be capable of determining the objectives;defining the contents and the progressions; selecting methods and techniques to be used; monitoring the procedure of acquisition, evaluating what has been acquired.”(Henri Holec,1981). “Autonomy is a capacity for detachment, critical reflection, decision making and independent action. It presupposes, but also entails, that the learner will develop a particular kind of psychological relation to the process and content of his learning”.(Little,1991). It is clear from this that autonomy is not a method of language learning – it is a capacity: the capacity to take control one’s own learning.(Benson, 2001:2)This seems to distinguish it from some other types of learning with which it is sometimes associated, such as: “self-study”, “distance learning” and “independent learning”. The main point here is that most of these can be seen as ways of organizing learning, as methods. They may be more or less teacher-led and the degree of teacher control is not clear. Holec use the term “autonomy” to refer to a “capacity” and not a “method” It is a capacity that usually needs to be acquired, hence our emphasis is on “learning how to learn”. On a general note, the term autonomy has come to be used in at least five ways: the first is for situations in which learners study entirely on their own; the second is for a set of skills which can be learned and applied in self-directed learning; the third is for an inborn capacity which is suppressed by institutional education; the fourth is for the exercise of learners' responsibility for their own learning; and the last is for the right of learners to determine the direction of their own learning. (Benson & Voller, 1997: 2) It is noteworthy that autonomy can be thought of in terms of a departure from education as a social process, as well as in terms of redistribution of power attending the construction of knowledge and the roles of the participants in the learning process. Autonomous language learning requires the learners to be responsible for their learning, including deciding their learning objective, choosing their learning materials, monitoring and adjusting their learning process and evaluating their learning results. There is broad agreement in the theoretical literature that learner autonomy grows out of the individual learner's acceptance of responsibility for his or her own learning (e.g., Holec, 1981;Little, 1991). This means that learner autonomy is a matter of explicit or conscious intention:we cannot accept responsibility for our own learning unless we have some idea of what, why,and how we are trying to learn. The learner must take at least some of the initiatives that give shape and direction to the learning process, and must share in monitoring progress and evaluating the extent to which learning targets are achieved. The pedagogical justification for wanting to foster the development of learner autonomy...
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