Learners' Goals and Needs


Main Points:


A learner’s goals in self-directed learning may be very different from that in a non-self-directed context such as a teacher-led class. They may also be different from goals set out in Nunan’s levels above, in that learners may not have the communicative need and therefore goal of reaching Level Five to "become teachers and researchers."

Holec (1980: 32-4) discusses learner needs, saying that in self-directed learning the learner has the choice of knowledge to be acquired, the level of competence aimed for, and the times, places, methodologies and learning techniques used. This is also true of learners using the CILL Internet site, as they can choose what knowledge they wish to acquire, from any material on the Internet if they desire and if they use the search engines provided. They can choose the level of competence they are aiming for by testing their competence in communicative situations such as e-mail, discussions and conferencing to see if it is adequate to their needs. They can choose the time they wish to study as the site is on-line all day. They can, within the limit of access to the Internet, choose the place in which they wish to study. They can choose the methodology and learning techniques they wish to use from either their experience of education or from the advice for students on planning their work.


Holec, Henri (1980) Learner training: meeting needs in self-directed learning. In Altman, H.B. & James, C.V. (eds.) Foreign Language Learning: meeting individual needs Oxford: Pergamon

Nunan, David (1997) Designing and adapting materials to encourage learner autonomy. In Benson, Phil & Voller, Peter, eds. (1997) Autonomy and Independence in Language Learning London: Longman, 192 - 203