The Notions of Control and Consciousness in Learner Autonomy and Self-Regulated Learning: a comparison and critique

Lewis, Tim and Vialleton, Elodie (2011). The Notions of Control and Consciousness in Learner Autonomy and Self-Regulated Learning: a comparison and critique. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 5(2) pp. 205–219.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/17501229.2011.577535

Abstract

This paper explores two influential theories of self-directed learning: learner autonomy and self-regulated learning, principally as evidenced in the writings of
Henri Holec, David Little, Phil Benson, Barry Zimmerman and Paul Pintrich. The paper charts parallels and divergences between these two approaches,identifying any opportunities for mutual enrichment and implicitly raising the
question of which is the more convincing. The differences between the two theories appear significant. While learner autonomy assumes that learners are capable of conscious reflection and decision making, there is a greater ambiguity
about whether the strategies employed by self-regulated learners are applied consciously or automatically. Moreover, whereas learner autonomy (at least in its
broader versions) calls for critical reflection on society and its institutions, in self-regulated learning, critical reflection is directed inwards at the learner’s own performance. In particular, the paper studies the role of control and consciousness in learner autonomy and self-regulated learning and has recourse to Raimo Tuomela’s Philosophy of Sociality and the Self-Determination Theory
of John Ryan and Edward Deci, for a resolution of some of the uncertainties surrounding these two issues in each approach.
Keywords: autonomy; consciousness; control; self-regulation; self-monitoring; self-determination.

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