Journal of Foreign Language Education and Technology

Fostering Learner Autonomy in Foreign Language Classroom: A Digital Storytelling Project

Abstract

Napat Jitpaisarnwattana

This study explores the potential of a digital storytelling (DST) project to foster learner autonomy with the view that learner autonomy is not equivalent to independent learning and/or self-directed learning, but comprises both individual and collaborative elements, which can be exercised in a well-designed technological learning environment. The study incorporates both quantitative and qualitative research methods. The data were gathered from a class of university students learning English as a foreign language in Thailand (17 participants) via three instruments: questionnaires, semi-structured interviews and students’ reflections. The findings reveal that a DST project in a technological learning environment has great potential to afford students opportunities to exercise their capacity as autonomous language learners. The study concludes that any technological utilization, not necessarily just DST, aiming to promote learner autonomy needs to be carefully designed, using appropriate theoretical frameworks, and that the roles of cognitive and collaborative learning should be equally valued. Suggestions are made for further research, especially on the real contributions of DST to students’ language improvement and motivation.

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