Beyond learner autonomy: A dynamic systems view of the informal learning of English in virtual online communities

Abstract : This article discusses the informal learning of English by non-native speakers with particular reference to the role of virtual communities. The concept of informal learning is presented and related to current areas of interest in the literature such as incidental learning, and dynamic systems theory. Our research investigates how non-specialist language learners use the Internet in their spare time to read and listen to English, and also communicate in English, notably in online communities through social networking websites. The study looks particularly at the dynamics of these phenomena by studying a small number of non-native users of English over a period of two months. The results of this research will be used to question the relevance of the learner autonomy paradigm, which has been a cornerstone of language learning policy in Europe for the past thirty years.
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Geoffrey Sockett, Denyze Toffoli. Beyond learner autonomy: A dynamic systems view of the informal learning of English in virtual online communities. ReCALL, Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2012, 24 (2), pp.138-151. ⟨10.1017/S0958344012000031⟩. ⟨hal-00931104⟩

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