The complex stories behind autonomous learners

AKITA – June 2014 –The complex stories behind autonomous learners – Joe Sykes, Akita International University. Recent research in the field of learner autonomy has shifted from the psychological view, which treats the learner in isolation, to the sociocultural view, in which the learner is an integral part of the sociocultural context. This presentation examined the stories of three language learners. Although different, all three stories featured high levels of learner autonomy. Using Grounded Theory methodology, the data was analyzed through four inter-related theoretical “lenses”: learner autonomy; motivation; identity and sociocultural context. The interplay between these four factors was examined, leading to the conclusion that they are all agents in complex adaptive systems. The defining characteristics of complex adaptive systems are: dynamic; emergent; fractal; sensitive to initial conditions; and non-linear. A lively Q & A session completed the presentation.

Reported by Stephen Shucart

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