Developing learner autonomy: a comparative analysis of tertiary Chinese and Spanish language cohorts

Hui Ling Xu, Jane Hanley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Learner autonomy has become an increasingly important component of educational curricula at all levels and is recognized in tertiary education as a key graduate capability. In this digital age, with a rich pool of language learning resources readily available, foreign language education is also an ideal platform from which to foster active and autonomous learning. Considered important twenty-first century skills, autonomous and life-long learning have regained robust attention in the educational sector, with a growing body of research examining their significance and outlining practice in fostering learner autonomy in foreign language classrooms. This chapter reports the findings of a project based on a student-centred approach and introducing autonomous learning tasks into the curriculum across two different language programs (Chinese and Spanish). This approach facilitated cross-linguistic comparison, given the different nature of the languages and the different learner motivation orientations. The results show that there were overall benefits as well as certain disparities between the two cohorts in terms of their self-reported improvement in the area under examination. We offer some analysis of possible causes and teaching implications for future iterations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntersections in language planning and policy
Subtitle of host publicationestablishing connections in languages and cultures
EditorsJean Fornasiero, Sarah M. A. Reed, Rob Amery, Eric Bouvet, Kayoko Enomoto, Hui Ling Xu
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783030509255
ISBN (Print)9783030509248
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameLanguage Policy
ISSN (Print)1571-5361
ISSN (Electronic)2452-1027


  • Chinese
  • Language education
  • Learner autonomy
  • Learner motivation
  • Life-long learning
  • Spanish
  • Student-centred approach


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