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The role of call in promoting learner autonomy

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2008
Mutlu, Arzu
In this study, four aspects of learner autonomy within the context of CALL were investigated so as to find out whether CALL environments contribute to the development of learner autonomy. Two groups of students, in total 48 preparatory school students, at intermediate level in the Department of Foreign Languages at a private university in Ankara were chosen to take part in the study. First’ the students’ language learning strategy use was explored. Then, only one group of students was given a five-week language learning strategy training through CALL. During the training, their motivation levels, willingness to take responsibility for learning and involvement in out-of-class studies were scrutinized. In order to reach the aforementioned goals, both qualitative and quantitative data were collected by the help of questionnaires, semi-structured face-to-face interviews, observations, e-learning diaries kept by the strategy training group and a five-week language learning strategy training through CALL. In order to reach the aim of the study, the data were collected in the form of pre-test and post-test for the language learning strategies of the learners from both groups to be analyzed and evaluated. Besides, both groups were observed by the instructors in order to address motivation, taking responsibility for learning and engaging in out-of-class study. However, only the students in one group were given a five-week language learning strategy training through CALL, and they were interviewed before and after the training and they kept e-learning diaries. The findings indicated that the five-week language learning strategy training helped the students in the strategy training group to improve their use of language learning strategies as well as increasing their motivation, encouraging them to take responsibility for their learning and engage in out-of-class activities. However, when compared to the students in the strategy training group, the students who did not get the five-week language learning strategy training through CALL did not show many uses of language learning strategies, high motivation levels, willingness to take responsibility and engage in out-of-class activities. Since the main aim of this study was to foster learner autonomy by the help of CALL, this study attempted to suggest ways to help learners to use language learning strategies, increase their motivation, take responsibility for learning and engage in out-of-class. Keywords: CALL, learner autonomy, learning strategies, motivation, taking responsibility, out-of-class study, language learning