Encouraging Learner Autonomy Development in Distance Teaching in Primary School


  • Katja Komljanec
  • Lara Šebalj




learner autonomy, primary school, distance learning, motivation, technology


The central topic of the article is the development of learner autonomy and how teachers in Slovenian primary schools encourage it.

The first part of the article presents and explains what learner autonomy is, the factors important for its development, and other significant concepts connected to it. The key aspects of learner autonomy are intrinsic motivation, learning strategies, collaborative learning, and self-evaluation. The theory of learner autonomy is then related to the context of distance learning that we were able to observe this year, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The article also discusses the use of technology in teaching EFL/ESL and suggests it helps in the development of learner autonomy.

The second part presents an analysis and discussion based on the results of interviews conducted with primary school English teachers and questionnaires that were given to primary school students. The purpose of the research was to explore how learner autonomy was manifested during the time of the pandemic, when the learning process had to be moved online. By analysing the results, we were able to confirm or reject five hypotheses.

The results show that teachers use many activities that promote the development of learner autonomy. The research shows that in distance teaching the main factors that influence the development of learner autonomy are quality, attractive, and engaging materials, as well as good explanations. Teachers also reported that the home environment was one of the key aspects contributing to a successful or unsuccessful learning process.


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How to Cite

Komljanec, K., & Šebalj, L. (2020). Encouraging Learner Autonomy Development in Distance Teaching in Primary School . Journal for Foreign Languages, 12(1), 277–294. https://doi.org/10.4312/vestnik.12.277-294