The Use of Language Learning Strategies through Smartphones in Improving Learner Autonomy in EFL Reading among Undergraduates in Saudi Arabia

  •  Ali Alzubi    
  •  Manjet Singh    


Language learning strategies (LLS) and learner autonomy (LA) are believed to achieve a sustainable long-life learning process leading to a more reading competence (O’malley & Chamot, 1990; Oxford, 1990). LA is a pedagogical imperative inasmuch as language is largely an autonomous activity (Kumaravadivelu, 2006). This study examines the improvement of LA through the explicit use of LLS in EFL reading in a mobile-assisted language learning (MALL) environment among English as a foreign language (EFL) readers enrolled in Preparatory Year program at Najran University in Saudi Arabia. To this end, a questionnaire adapted from Oxford’s (1990) Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL), was administered to 32 students to measure their reading strategy use mediated by smartphones in EFL reading context. The data analysis revealed moderate averages (60%) of LLS (memory, cognitive, compensation, metacognitive, affective, and social strategies) among EFL undergraduates in EFL reading context. Consequently, these results may restrain the improvement of LA in virtual learning environments, mostly teacherless platforms, where learners need to have these strategies to help them control and manage their own language learning in almost independent learning settings, freedom in time, place, access to resources, and material choices. It is recommended that LA be improved through a strategy use instruction mediated by smartphones in EFL reading context.

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