Title: On the path to self-determined learning: a mixed methods study of learners' attributes and strategies to learn in language MOOCs

Authors: Nikoletta Agonács; João Filipe Matos; Daniela Bartalesi-Graf; David N. O'Steen

Addresses: UIDEF, Instituto de Educação, Universidade de Lisboa, Alameda da Universidade, 1649-013 Lisboa, Portugal ' UIDEF, Instituto de Educação, Universidade de Lisboa, Alameda da Universidade, 1649-013 Lisboa, Portugal ' Wellesley College, 106 Central St, Wellesley, MA 02481, USA ' Wellesley College, 106 Central St, Wellesley, MA 02481, USA

Abstract: In this study, we employ heutagogy (self-determined learning) to learn about autonomous learning characteristics of language MOOC learners using an embedded correlational mixed methods design. We administered quantitative and qualitative questionnaires to learners in two Italian language MOOCs offered by Wellesley College on the edX platform. We measured how four heutagogical attributes (self-efficacy, self-reflection, insight and internet skills) predict self-directed learning readiness in three different learner cohorts (high, moderate and low self-determined learners), and learners' capability level. We also discuss learners' preferred activity types for foreign language acquisition as revealed by the qualitative survey. We found that most learners are moderate or low self-determined learners and we observed statistically significant differences among the three groups in how the heutagogical attributes predict self-directed learning readiness. Moreover, learners showed a certain level of capability, and a preference for a relatively structured and traditional way of learning while, at the same time, expressing a need to improve their communicative competences.

Keywords: capability; correlational mixed methods study; foreign language acquisition; language MOOC; massive open online course; MOOC; heutagogy; internet skills; preferred activity types; self-determined learning; self-directed learning readiness; SDLR; self-efficacy; self-reflection; insight.

DOI: 10.1504/IJLT.2019.106553

International Journal of Learning Technology, 2019 Vol.14 No.4, pp.304 - 330

Received: 08 May 2021
Accepted: 12 May 2021

Published online: 30 Mar 2020 *

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