Investigating a Systematic Approach to the Promotion of EFL Learners’ Autonomy

Document Type: Original Article


1 1Islamic Azad University, Science and Research Branch, Tehran, Iran

2 Allameh Tabataba'i University, Iran


Autonomy is the ability to take charge of one’s own learning. However, this ability is not inborn and must be acquired by formal instruction (Holec, 1981). Therefore, to offer a systematic approach to the devel-opment of learner autonomy in language learning process, Benson (2001) argues that learner autonomy is described in terms of learners’ control over the three dimensions of learning management, cognitive pro-cesses, and learning content. However, developing learner autonomy through systematic instruction has received little attention in EFL context. To bridge this gap, this study aims to provide experimental sup-port for the impact of applying Benson’s (2001) three-level model of learner autonomy on fostering au-tonomy among EFL learners. To this aim, the data were collected and analyzed from a group (N=40) of English as a foreign language learners, doing their bachelor’s degree. The results indicated that autonomy subscale was greater after the completion of instructional intervention. Besides, further investigation pro-vided evidence on the fact that autonomy is not an all-or-nothing concept as the learners reached "inter-vention level" of degrees to learner autonomy. In total, this study suggests that each dimension of auton-omy in language learning should be developed separately, although many researchers often attach more importance to one level of control than others.