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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Autonomy, technology and Spanish as a Second Language Morgan, Tannis Luise

Abstract

Literature on self-directed language learning has only begun to explore the potential of the Internet for language acquisition. This diary case study involved the researcher-as-participant in self-directed learning of Spanish as a Second Language, over a period of 3.5 months. Only freely available Internet-based resources and communication tools were used to acquire Spanish language skills. Multiple pretest and posttest scores were recorded for all of the language skills, as well as observations of language learning strategies, motivation, and the use of multimedia in this language learning context. The results indicate that motivation was positively affected by the degree to which the learner had access to authentic language communities, through the use of authentic materials and communication tools. It was also found that self-directed learning in this environment required a high degree of metacognitive strategies, which at times had a negative effect on the learning process. Qualitative and quantitative measurements indicated that there was a significant increase in listening comprehension ability, as a result of reliable and consistent access to authentic online radio and television. The researcher suggests that Internet-based learning might be appropriate to autonomous learners who require access to authentic communities and materials in order to learn effectively.

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