Learning Strategies

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MARTHA NYIKOS Department o Language Education f School o Education f Indiana University Bloomington, IN 47405-1 006 E-mail: nyikos@ucs.indiana.edu

and

REBECCA OXFORD Department o Curriculum &? Instruction f College o Education f University o Alabama f Tuscaloosa, A L 35487-0231 E-mail: roxford@ccmail.bamanet.ua.edu

I N THE LAST FEW YEARS RESEARCH literature on learning strategies has experienced tremendous growth. In 1990 alone, at least three books on this subject appeared (9; 26; 28). Interest in learning strategies is due in large part to increased attention to the learner and to learner-centered instructional models of teaching (2; 37). These trends can be traced to the recognition that learning begins with the learner. The present study investigated the key types of foreign language learning strategies used by university students and adds statistical support to information-processing and socialinteraction models of learning. By approaching the learning process from cognitive, social and affective perspectives (among others), researchers are able to analyze learning in naturalistic and classroom environments. Cognitively, learners are viewed as contributors to the process of understanding new information via prior knowledge, schemata, or scripts. The social side of learning is also recognized as a learning catalyst in and out of the classroom (44;41). Authentic communication is advocated as an avenue, not simply an outcome of language instruction. The affective side of learning is frequently addressed in studies on anxiety (19; 34) and in strategy manuals addressed

to students (4; 38). Communication strategies

The Modern Language Journal, 77, i (1993) 0026-7902/93/11-22 $1.50/0 01993 The Modern Language Journal

are formally studied in linguistic analyses of speech act categories (42).All these approaches recognize the centrality of learners’ contribution to language learning as a cognitive, social, and affective process. Learning strategy

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