Friday, May 10, 2019

Autonomy in Distance English Language Learning

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Open and distance learning is experiencing a rapid growth throughout the world and Syria is no exception. With the turn of the new millennium, Syria launched two state institutes for distance learning: The Open Learning Centre (opened in 2001) and the Syrian Virtual University (opened in 2002). The Syrian Virtual University (SVU), one of its kind in the whole Arab region, offers students the opportunity to gain education through an online learning environment based on the latest technology. Since Syria is a country where English has become an important educational requirement, the teaching of English as a foreign language has therefore entered the arena of distance learning.

There is an overwhelming consensus amongst language learning researchers today on the benefits of developing an autonomous approach to learning which has also been linked to successful language learning. In higher education today, autonomy is also seen as a ‘marker of graduateness’ as manifested in the British Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) benchmark statements on the outcomes of graduate study. Holec (1980) defines autonomy as “the ability to take charge of one’s own learning”. The case is that when learners come from a traditional educational environment where they have been dependent on the teacher into a context where autonomy is essential, they are likely to find this new medium rather challenging.

1. Introduction
2. Challenges to the SVU English language learner
3. The study
4. Findings and discussion

Author Details
"Dr. Hala Dalbani"

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