Book: Learner Autonomy and Web 2.0
Chapter: Development of Language Learner Autonomy in Adaptive Learning Systems
Web 2.0 technologies can create multiple affordances for second language (L2) teaching and learning (Morgan, 2012), including affordances for developing learner autonomy (Benson, 2006; Lee, 2011; Little, 2015). The aim of this study is to investigate perceived affordances offered by adaptive learning systems (ALS) for the development of L2 learner autonomy, as well as potential constraints that can prevent such development. Using the tenets of activity theory (Basharina, 2007; Blin, 2004; Engeström, 1999, 2001; Lantolf & Thorne, 2007), this study examined the use of two ALS by 35 learners of Spanish enrolled in beginning and intermediate-level Spanish courses in Spring 2015. The data comprised learners’ responses to an online survey, semi-structured interviews, and focus groups administered at two different points in the semester. Activity theory was used to analyze the interactions between the learners and the ALS, with an emphasis on the division of labor and the rules governing the language learning activity system in which these interactions occurred. Results of the analysis revealed that the division of labor and the rules embedded in the design of the two ALS were perceived to offer both affordances and constraints for developing learner autonomy.