A Survey on Status of College Students’ Web-based English Autonomous Learning Ability
A Survey on Status of College Students' Web-based English Autonomous Learning Ability
Abstract: Developing students’ English autonomous learning capability in the Web environment is one key of college English reform. This paper first explores the Web, autonomous learning and the relationship between them and elaborates the Web environment affecting the college students’ English autonomous learning, emphasizing the importance of web-based English learner autonomy. The questionnaire and interview with students shows the current status and problems in students web-based English autonomous learning. Lastly, this paper put forward some constructive suggestions about how to develop students’ autonomous learning ability in the web environment.
Key Words: Web-environment; Autonomous learning; Present Situation
1. Web Environment and English Autonomous Learning 2
1.1 Function of the Web 2
1.2 Autonomous Learning 2
1.2.1 Characteristics of Autonomous Learners 4
1.2.2 Necessity of English Autonomous Learning 4
1.3 Web-based English Autonomous Learning 5
2. Autonomous Learning’s Present Situation in the Web Environment 7
2.1 Research Design 7
2.1.1 Subjects 8
2.1.2 Research Instruments 8
2.1.3 Procedures 9
2.2 Results 9
2.3 Discussions of the Results 10
3. How to Develop Students’ Web-based Learning Autonomy 11
3.1 The Needed Condition for Learner Autonomy 12
3.2 Teachers' Role 13
3.3 Use Web Resources to Learn English 13
3.4 Exchange Ideas and Discussion with Others 14
4. Conclusion 15
Ever since the early 70s, there has been a steady interest in changing the focus of foreign language teaching from teacher-centeredness to learner-centeredness. It is generally acknowledged that learners themselves should play an active role and take more responsibility in mastering a foreign language to improve learning efficiency. Consequently, learner autonomy, which refers to the willingness for and the ability of taking charge of one's own learning, has been a "buzzword" in foreign language teaching.
The spring-up of learner autonomy benefits from the development of three major schools of educational psychology---Humanism, Cognitive Theory and Constructivism. These theories emphasize that education should take learners as the center and learners are endowed with the capability to take control of their learning. From then on, the concept of learner autonomy came into being and developed well under these underlying theories, which provides the theoretical guidance for the promotion of autonomous learning in foreign language teaching.
At present, with the swift development of computer technology and the personal computer’s popularization, especially the Web’s appearance, the computer’s utilization has entered a brand-new stage. Not only has the Web information resources opened a new domain for the computer application, but also it has provided an advantageous tool for English study. The speedy development of computer technology broadens the methodology of English teaching and learning. The web, boasting of many advantages, creates an excellent learning environment, which provides technological methods for language learning. The nature of web-based learning is also conductive to learner autonomy, which can also be called the actualization of learner autonomy. It enables learners to improve their ability and confidence to access, analyze and interpret information. Autonomous learning in the Web environment has been studied since fifty years ago in western countries, especially in America. Besides, there are a lot of works about it emerging one after another. Many scholars at home and abroad have made further study and achieved great success. However, the achievements remain at the level of definition and restrict in its domains. Up until now, little has been done concerning the empirical study on the feasibility of developing autonomous learning in web environment carried out by college student as an extra-curriculum activity and the correlation between learners’ performance and web-based autonomous learning. This thesis takes the thought of the education for all-around development and the modern study theory as the instruction, using a modern education technology to structure the Web environment for the college English autonomous learning way, and also it gives the concrete operating procedure and the implementing way.
1. The Web Environment and English Autonomous Learning
1.1 Function of the Web
The Web is made up of millions of computers which are linked together around the world in such a way that information can be sent from one computer to any other computers 24 hours a day. These computers can be in families, schools, universities, government departments, and businesses and so on. They can be any types of computers, single personal computers, workstations of a school or company computes. In general, what the Web can do for users are follows:
1) Log on to other computer systems;
2) Copy files from other systems;
3) Exchange messages with other users;
4) Access messages;
5) Provide users with unlimited information;
6) Use tools to find specific information.
1.2 Autonomous Learning
Students’ autonomous learning in language is an area which is developing fast. The paper is intended to study the development of learner autonomy at college level through learning English with computer. It is difficult to define concepts like “autonomy” and “independent learning” for three reasons. First, different writers have defined the concepts in different ways. Second, they are areas of ongoing debate and therefore definitions are continuing to mature as more discussion takes place. Third, these concepts have developed independently in different geographical areas and therefore they have been defined using different terminology, such as “autonomy”, “ self-access learning” etc..
For a definition of autonomy, we might quote Holec who first describes it as “the ability to take charge of one's learning” ( Henri Holec,1981). On the note, the term autonomy has used in at least five ways：