Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies

Committee Chair

Cynthia S. Chalupa

Committee Co-Chair

Samuel F. Stack


This study was designed to investigate how college learners of a foreign language perceived learner autonomy, its effects on student motivation, and its benefits to different parts of language learning. It utilized a mixed-methods design. Participants were 90 undergraduate students in German courses of different levels. During the course of instruction, principles of learner autonomy were implemented in the instruction. Qualitative as well as quantitative data were collected in the form of a self-assessment survey, learning journals, reflective statements, and an autonomous learning survey. The analysis was focused on (1) how students perceived the ability to make autonomous learning choices, (2) how the ability to make autonomous choices regarding format, content, and timing affected motivation, and (3) which areas of language learning were most benefited by autonomous learning choices. The findings showed evidence that a majority of the students involved in this study reacted very positively to an autonomous learning environment, especially to the opportunity to make choices in regards to content. The students unanimously reported an increase in their level of motivation based on the autonomous learning choices. There was also a contrast between appreciation for autonomous learning choices on the one hand, and requests for more targeted instruction and practice on grammar, as well as more frequent assessments like quizzes and tests.