Online resources and learner autonomy: a study of college-level students of Arabic

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Hobrom, Anwar Ibrahim

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This is a study about online resources and learner autonomy for college-level students of Arabic. The three research questions guiding this study were: How do college-level learners of Arabic perceive themselves as autonomous learners? What is the value of online resources as a learning aid for the autonomous language learner? What are the inherent features in online resources that empower the autonomous language learner? The sample for this descriptive study consisted of five second- semester students of Arabic at a major university in the U.S. Data were collected through interviews with the participants and their instructor as well as documents such as written journals and class syllabi. The participants were asked to express their views on autonomy, online resources, and how they might have been empowered by using such resources in their language learning experience. The findings suggested that the participants perceived themselves as autonomous learners in two ways. One had to do with such characteristics as taking more responsibility, being more motivated, etc. The other was about them as learners such as improvement in their skills and being able to evaluate themselves. The findings also indicated that the participants appreciated the opportunity to practice their language skills interactively, especially speaking and listening, at their convenience and without feeling embarrassed in front of the instructor or their classmates. Finally, it was found that having many multimedia-type materials online made the learning experience interesting, engaging, and exciting for the participants.