Fostering autonomy in learners with special needs : a specialized e-learning course


This publication doesn't include Faculty of Arts. It includes Support Centre for Students with Special Needs. Official publication website can be found on



Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Language Learning in Higher Education; Journal of the European Confederation of Language Centres in Higher Education (CercleS)
MU Faculty or unit

Support Centre for Students with Special Needs

Keywords classroom dynamics; deaf; foreign language learning; internationalisation; self-regulating learner
Attached files
Description International engagement has become a priority and is regarded as a means to improve the quality of students’ education and their future social and professional success. It may, however, pose a major challenge for some higher education students. One of the vulnerable groups is that of learners with special needs, and particularly Deaf, deaf and hard of hearing students. These learners are limited in their chances to interact in spoken/written foreign languages and in the learning opportunities they can join. This, by extension, has an unfavourable impact on their possibilities of engaging in study abroad. Based on the experience with a newly launched e-learning course “Online English for International Mobilities”, the present paper discusses the need for building effective FL learning strategies in Deaf, deaf and hard of hearing students in connection with the process of academic internationalisation. The main argument is for the need to foster students’ ability to self-regulate, reduce their teacher dependency and reliance on directed learning, and to encourage them to take responsibility for their own learning. Secondly, the paper provides a comparison of two pilot runs of the course from the perspective of (online) classroom dynamics and cooperation. While the course is built to be as autonomous as possible and benefits from the advantages of the e-learning format, great importance is given to group dynamics and cooperation via discussion forums and online chats. It also takes advantage of the considerable benefits of individualized, personalized feedback being provided by teachers on selected assignments.

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