A salutary lesson from a computer-based self-access language learning project

Dan Huai LU*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Much has been learnt about the advantages of computer-based self-access language learning (SALL). However, little is mentioned about the pitfalls of using SALL to promote learning independence. This article presents a study of some university students' use of SALL. It reports their responses to the integration of SALL into an ESL course. The subjects were required to do a SALL project to improve their English, develop interest in computer-based self-learning and enhance learner autonomy. On completion, they were asked to submit an individual portfolio about their SALL activities. Afterwards, a separate anonymous questionnaire was used to solicit their feedback on the effectiveness of SALL. Results from the two channels were surprisingly opposite: the former was positive while the latter was negative. A further analysis reveals that the subjects did not gain much from the project, and their positive comments were made as a part of their assignment. Comparatively, the negative comments mirrored their true feelings. According to the feedback, it would be less successful if SALL was treated as a compulsory learning task. Besides, to make SALL really helpful to the learners, the teachers' guidance is indispensable, particularly at the initial stages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-359
Number of pages17
JournalComputer Assisted Language Learning
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Computer Science Applications

User-Defined Keywords

  • Computer-assisted language learning (call)
  • Learner autonomy
  • Learning independence
  • Self-access language learning (sall)


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