Duolingo, a free language learning software, is lessoned by units semantically and grammatically with different activities (translation, matching, speaking and listening), and available both on the computer and on the mobile phone. As language learning software like Duolingo becomes more and more popular in language learning, Benson (2013) suggested that the modern concept of learner autonomy (LA) has to be 'reconceptualized' due to the changing of the way learners learn foreign languages. This study investigated whether Duolingo could help learners promote learner autonomy and to what extent could LA be achieved. Ten college students were selected to participate in this study. Both qualitative and quantitative tools were used, with qualitative as the main and quantitative as the supplementary. The study was carried out in two phases. Quantitative tool was applied in phase one with self-initiated and self-regulated questions and Duolingo's learning logs tracker. Participants involved in phase two, a semi-structure interview, were selected depending on participants' phase one result to obtain in-depth information about to what extent LA be achieved, the transfer of learners' metacognitive strategies in learning, and the interesting features of Duolingo that prompted LA. The results showed that learners promoted LA by managing their leisure time and the daily goal of learning period, looking for more information to solve their problems, selecting related materials, and evaluating the performance and achievement of themselves. Pedagogical implications for promoting LA with language learning software were also discussed.
Charlene Chiao-man Tsai, National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan
Stream: Learner and teacher autonomy
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