This module offers you a wide-ranging view of the philosophical and theoretical roots of autonomous learning, and its various practical applications in language education.

Upon completion, you will have developed your awareness of principles and practice relating to learner autonomy in language education, and will have applied these principles to your own professional context.

This module carries 30 credits.

Is this course for you?

Location: Online
Experience: Degree. language teaching experience
Language Level: B2/C1 or higher
Course dates: Start at any time
Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma or MA awarded by University of Chichester
Course Length: 36 weeks
Course fees: £1210
Minimum age: 18
Max class size: 18
Expert tutor support and feedback
Live and asynchronous eLearning platforms
Specialist ELT eLibrary
Accredited by AQUEDUTO

Course content

Principles and practice of autonomous learning
Assessment and autonomous learning
The role of feedback in autonomous learning
Investigating learner autonomy
The development of the concept of autonomy in the language classroom;
Areas over which teachers traditionally take control and how learners might be encouraged to take more control: the learning situation, individual learner factors, learning management
Alternative forms of assessment which promote autonomy
How to adapt course materials to promote autonomy
Approaches to investigating autonomy


A portfolio (50%) containing TWO of the following three options:

  1. A detailed learner needs analysis.
  2. A detailed plan to promote learning autonomy in a specified group of learners.
  3. A one-hour workshop outline on developing a specified aspect of learner autonomy.

A 3,000-word assignment (50%) reporting original research into the development of learner autonomy in English language teaching. You have the choice of a status report on the implementation of a learning plan, or a case study on a specified learning context, depending on which portfolio assignments you opt for.

Further Information

Online courses are broken down into individual units and activities, forming a clear structure. Tasks will be interactive, involving voice chat, forums and community walls, and they will utilize a range of multimedia including images, audio files and videos. Participants need a computer, a headset (with microphone) and an Internet connection. You can do much of the course on a tablet or mobile device, but will need a computer for certain activities.

All participants have access to NILE’s extensive ELT e-library and the NILE digital Tasks are interactive, involving live online sessions, forums and community walls, and utilise a range of multimedia including images, audio files and videos.

All NILE’s courses involve a significant element of English language improvement and/or development of language awareness.

MA Module Leader: Alan Mackenzie

Alan Mackenzie

Alan is currently based in Norwich after 25 years in Asia. Starting as a language teacher in Japan, he completed his MA TESOL with Teachers College Columbia University and moved onto teaching in universities and colleges. He later taught the Autonomy course on that MA programme for four years. He is currently a director of TransformELT.

His particular areas of interest are CLIL, integration of thinking skills, fostering autonomy (learner and teacher), assessment and materials design. He is also interested in monitoring and evaluating educational change projects, particularly defining what actually works and how we can measure it.

Available dates:

Course dates Location Course length
Start at any time Online 36 weeks