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December 2020 - Year 22 - Issue 6

ISSN 1755-9715

The Effectiveness of Self-studying Strategies in Language Learning

Şükrü Yiğit Salihoglu graduated from Balıkesir University, Necatibey Education Faculty,

English Language Teaching Department,  Balıkesir, Turkey. Email:



Learning essentially relies on the style of technique used in a context. Today’s learners mostly prefer to process on their own thanks to the development on the technology and rising trend of accessible sources all around the world and it paves the way for more effective self-education which can be more practical in the age we live in. It is primarily the aim of this paper to examine the dimensions of self-studying and how it can support students’ modern needs and its effectiveness considered the pros it may consists, especially in higher education. Additionally, it also presents some suggestions about how we facilitate the self-study in learning



Throughout ages, the traditional way of teaching has been considered as monitored and carried on by teacher, guiding and manipulating the classroom and students. It is believed that teacher is there to control you and should support you to carry on with the study because he or she is far more experienced than you and knows the appropriate ways for a lesson. Normally, there’s nothing wrong or irrational with this point of view of given the circumstances of the educational teaching world and the necessities of old eras where the authority was popular in education. With the world which is changing at a rapid rate, with the technologies transforming into more effective day by day, learning styles inevitably don’t seem to be stable compared to previous ones. The more people become autonomous, the more they begin to depend on themselves for the things they have to tackle with. Humankind becomes efficient and intimate with the things after dealing on their own and it is often believed that learning occurs best in the way it is practised and also used.


Self-Directed learning

Self-directed learning or auto didacticism has been a popular area for several years. It is strongly a crucial area where needs and requests about learning may vary among learners, which makes it more unpredictable issue that should be handled more deeply. It is also believed that children who are responsible enough can maintain and sustain a brighter career and education path compared to those who always depend on someone to direct and educate them. According to Betül Tarhan (2009) the learners who possess the capacity to learn on their own can be regarded as self-directed learners. More importantly, in the modern world where information becomes more accessible via the rising sources across the world, globally. According to O’Shea (2003) students who pose SDL skills need regulation, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, control and success during their learning activities. (Rajesh Bojan,2010) says that it is the capacity to be self-directed that makes one qualified to be successful in any individual’s attempts. Also, another perspective that could be regarded as logical, comes from (Malcom Knowles(1975) “individuals take initiative, with or without the help of others, in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating learn goals, identifying human and material resources for learning, choosing and implementing appropriate learning strategies and evaluating learning outcome”.


Features of a successful self-study

  1.  Motivation: It is undoubtedly believed that the essence of having success under any circumstances is totally related with this principle. As I have mentioned earlier, no matter how difficult is a task may be, the self-directed learners should try to overcome and keep their motivation high.
  2.  Flexibility: Learners who decide to depend on themselves, should not give up trying to reach a stage where their mental awareness gain confidence. Therefore, it is a crucial point to have a curious mind whose ability of perceiving new information is at the peak of it.
  3. Self-Determination: Learners should always follow the way they are in and without being tired of a continuous struggle for learning a language, they themselves have ethics which any difficult barrier they might encounter can block.
  4. Resource Managing: Typically, one students who can be regarded as self-directed, should always have the ability to assess his/her own resources and update them regularly so that they won’t lag behind the current mainstream of educational concepts. Additionally, the use of technology plays a vital role supplying the vast amount of source, mostly dynamic. They also in need of to be aware of reliable and unreliable information while using technology to collect materials and sources.
  5.  Time Managing: It is quite obligatory to adjust the studying hours according to a plan that should be designed equally and realistic. Self-directed learners need more strict concentration on adjusting the balance between the comfort zone of life and focused times they spend while studying
  6.  Observing Aptitude: One should have the inner desire and ability to have an open-minded, clear perspective whose areas are not limited by restrictions in order to strengthen the learning process and be aware of what’s going on the educational world and around the learning environment.
  7. Confidence: Certainly, it is the essential key of way to success that could pave the way for becoming a more self-restraint person in the life. Accordingly, it is therefore can seem be related with the language development, even more when considered the aspects of a language. Priorities that one should follow and carry out step by step profoundly seem to have a strong influence and similarities in self-directed learning, also in being self-confident one.


The role of technology in Self-directed Learning

It is undoubtedly known that all devices of technology have shaped our lives at an enormous rapid especially when they’re used as an aid that would throw out the sluggishness of old techniques seeming not enough to meet the wants or needs of the increasing world population. That is to say, it also can be regarded as an educational tool which can trigger the pace of autonomous learners’ paces.

The role of a computer and the Internet in the process of self-education consist replacing and enriching certain activities performed by a participant of the process. It boils down to: informative, training, controlling and organizing functions. Alina Gil(2015) (According to Hamzeh Moradi(2018) Nowadays, languages learners can easily participate in virtual schools or universities, they can sign for open online language courses and learn from them, and they can access free educational materials and resources. They can enhance their knowledge and language skills by participating in virtual language classes, MOOCs, online academic communities and social media. They not only can individually learn a language

through internet and using modern technologies, but also they are able to learn it in group with other language learners around the world. Also , Sridharan,  Deng,  Kirk, and  Corbitt  (2010)  mention that the main factors  which influence the effectiveness of learning through online resources include: a) technological  facets b) management of the technology and learning resources c) material organizations. For instance, Programmes which are designed for self-learning, such as Duolingo, Memrise, provide learners the path of the possible and appropriate ways that can be applied in a succession.

The priorities and the main course objectives are built in a scale where learners have the right to use it when needed for practising in vocabulary, not only rules imposed on too much deductive structure. Thus, it paves the way to the competence to develop of self-determined and critically aware students in educational environments. Dunlap & Lowenthal (2011) depict that recent technologies can help students to enhance their problem-solving skills and as well as their metacognitive capabilities. However, it is crucial to consider the learners’ cognitive awareness about the technology that can be integrated into classroom and checking whether it is coherent or applicable in the classroom environment.


Major differences between Teacher-directed and Self-directed Learning

First of all, when considering the processes they have, the teacher directed tend to be controlled strictly the teacher and students should obey to the regulations laid by the institutions or the teacher throughout the learning process. On the other hand, the more students and learners tend to develop an identity which is self-directed, the more they’ll be interested on the materials they have and the techniques which they can handle and accustomed to, they become mostly independent learners and manage to control themselves without being directed in a created way. Obviously, it seems quite acceptable and logical to verify the idea that any learning process which can occur at any learning environment cannot be guaranteed about the possible problems learners might face.  When it comes the actions, the traditional methods always give importance to the steps which can be created by teachers, not students. Thus, students passively tend to follow the teacher and hesitate to take responsibility unless they are told doing so. According to Dylag (2004) in case of choosing self-studying the following factors can be distinguished: awareness of the goal and its pursuit, strong will to implement one’s decisions and self-control combined with self-criticism. Motivation involves a desire, pursuit, and readiness to make effort in order to satisfy a certain need or needs. Such needs are often created by modern times.

More importantly, it is widely accepted that the two distinguished process that matter such as:

Monitoring: Although it still stands unclear whether it is the ideal way, in teacher-centred classes, teachers are predominantly the authority in the class and regarded as the only source of feedback, suggestion, motivation. They involve in the process whenever they feel students in need and correct the errors or mistakes students have made. Therefore, it significantly has the potential to break down the mood of the students if it is done too much.  However, on the other hand, in self-directed learners’ learning style, they rather have the responsibility to make a comprehensive, coherent and effective process on their own.

Evaluating: An immense separation occurs when it comes to evaluating because even in the teacher-directed way, it has always been criticized whether it is done properly or not. Traditionally, teacher plays a great role in evaluation by carrying all process and decides the outcome of lesson. On the other hand, when learners try to deduce the rules and to clarify the information on their own, this autonomy can pave the way for a glorious learning process that would be unique to themselves, enhancing their perceptive insights.



Language learning is a unique experience becomes more effective when learners are independent on their own and this leads to a stage where all limited teaching strictness may be lost in the faith of students. Although formal education is still the popular one in a global scale, learning needs more than ever autonomous and responsible students with the emerging power of technological developments shaping the world at a high rapid. To provide an open learning experience, the instructors should be consciously led students into areas of practising that would encourage them to study more deeply and to become a curious person. In this process, learners may normally encounter limitations and struggles but if only them believe in the tasks they’re focusing on, then they can overcome those problems by self-assessment and cognitive awareness. The feeling of boosting linguistic knowledge can make them stronger in the internal stages of mind. It would be inevitably beneficial if altering the education system on both sides, teacher-centred and learner-centred, discussed and investigated with the unbiased ideas that would trigger speed of learners, especially self-directed ones. As many academicians have outlined above with their statements, self-directed learning actually require devotion and metacognitive awareness to progress constantly and effectively even in the information age we live in.



Betül Tarhan (2009) , A Proposed Model for the Design of Self-learning Language Materials

O’Shea, E. (2003). Self-directed learning in nurse education: A review of the literature. Journal of Advanced Nursing 43, no. 1: 62_70.

Rajesh Bojan (2010). The Role of Self-Directed Learning Strategy in Higher Education

Knowles, M. (1975) Self-directed learning: A guide for learners and teachers, New York: Cambridge Books.

Alina Gil (2015). The Role of the Internet in Self-Study

Hamzed Moradi (2018). Self-directed Learning in Language Teaching-learning Processes

Sridharan, B, Deng, H., Kirk, J., & Corbitt, B. (2010). Structural equation modelling for evaluating the user perceptions of e-learning effectiveness in higher education.

Dunlap, J. C., & Lowenthal, P. R. (2011). Learning, unlearning, and relearning: Using Web 2.0 technologies to support the development of lifelong learning skills.

Dyląg, A., Heidtman, J., Makowski, M., Rosiński, J., Rudnicka, M.(2004). Człowiek w dżungli współczesności [The man in the jungle of modernity]


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Tagged  Various Articles 
  • The Effectiveness of Self-studying Strategies in Language Learning
    Sükrü Yigit Salihoglu, Turkey