"Changing Roles and Changing Minds": The Implementation and Implications of Autonomous Learning Programmes
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A great deal has been written in recent years on the theoretical aspects of autonomous language learning. There have also been various research studies and text books written on closely related topics such as language awareness and language learning strategies. However, relatively few accounts have appeared describing the implementation of larger scale autonomous language learning projects or the implications such projects have had for teachers and learners. This paper describes an experiment which is now in its fifth year at the Language Centre of the University of Helsinki, Finland. Well over one thousand university students have completed autonomous language learning modules (ALMS) as part of their normal degree programme, and a large body of data has been collected on the process. We will here describe the context and organisation of the ALMS modules and, in particular, the nature and function of counselling, which we see as an essential part of the support system provided for learners on their road to autonomy. We will then go on to analyse some of the attitudinal changes experienced and freely expressed by learners as a direct result of their participation in the programme.