Autonomy means the ability to take control of one's own learning, independently or in collaboration with others.

Young adult students working on his computer

An autonomous learner will take more responsibility for learning and is likely to be more effective than a learner who is reliant on the teacher. Learner training in the classroom encourages autonomy and is an important element of language teaching.


An autonomous learner will set their own goals, reflect on their progress, and seek opportunities to practise outside the classroom.

In the classroom
Asking learners to keep diaries to reflect on the way they learn best, and teaching them how to use tools such as dictionaries can encourage autonomy. Asking the question, 'could the learners do this for themselves?' about any activity planned for class will help create the conditions for the development of greater learner autonomy in class.

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