Effects of Learner Factors on Chinese Non-English Major Undergraduates’ Autonomous Learning
|School||Huazhong University of Science and Technology|
|Course||Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics|
|Keywords||learner factors learner autonomy predictive power|
As a hot topic in the field of Second Language Acquisition, autonomous learning has been repeatedly confirmed to lead to increased English achievements. The significance of learner autonomy in college English teaching and learning has received congruous acknowledgements. However, learner autonomy as an outcome end is sensitive to the effects from other factors at the same time. A deep understanding of these effects is essential for the endeavor to promote students’autonomy in English learning. The present study attempts at this appealing issue with a focus on the effects of learner factors on learner autonomy. More specifically, the present study intends to answer the following questions:1) Which learner factors among English learning motivation, attribution, goal orientation, academic self-efficacy, English learning strategies, gender and previous English proficiency can predict Chinese non-English major undergraduates’autonomous learning?2) To what extent do these factors predict learner autonomy?The instruments employed in the present study are two questionnaires tapping college students’autonomous learning and the learner factors assumed to bear influence on it. Participants are a sample of 167 students for a pilot study to test the validity and reliability of the instruments and another sample of 379 students for the subsequent analyses. All participants are non-English L2 sophomores from Huazhong University of Science and Technology.In the pilot study, confirmatory factor analysis was conducted to examine the construct validity of each scale of the questionnaires. Modification was made according to the results and the reliability of the revised scales was tested. The subsequent analyses involve Pearson Correlations which aimed at finding the learner factors significantly correlated with autonomous learning and prepare them for the Multiple Regression in the next phase. Multiple Regression was performed to explore which variables predict learner autonomy and their relative predictive power. Independent Samples T-Test was employed to explore gender difference on autonomous learning in particular.Major findings of the present study are: 1) Among the variables of English learning motivation, attribution, academic self-efficacy, goal orientation, English learning strategies and previous English proficiency, four distinguish themselves as factors affecting learner autonomy positively. They are: the use of direct strategies, mastery goal orientation, academic self-efficacy and the use of indirect strategies. Immediate achievement motivation is the only factor found to have negative effect on autonomous learning. 2) Among these predictors, the use of direct strategies possesses strongest predictive power, followed by mastery goal orientation, academic self-efficacy and the use of indirect strategies. The degree of the negative effect from immediate achievement motivation is slightest relative to the positive influence from other four factors.The findings extend evidence on the affecting factors of learner autonomy in Chinese EFL learning context and indicate a clear direction to the fostering of Chinese undergraduates’autonomous English learning.