Self-directed language learning essentially means that students direct all of the main aspects of their study, such as the objectives, methods, materials, and evaluation. That way students can tailor their study to their own needs. There are, however, two conditions to self-directed study: students must be able to manage the aforementioned aspects of the study, and have access to an assortment of resources suitable for autonomous learning.
Self-directed study is founded upon the idea of learner autonomy, which is an acquired skill. Students must learn how to learn. In order to achieve this goal, students require expert guidance, in this case from a language teacher.
The teacher‘s role in self-directed language study is different than in traditional teaching. Here, the teacher is no longer an instructor so much as an advisor. As an advisor, the teacher helps students achieve increased autonomy by making them aware of the learning process, their own learning styles and strategies, and their attitudes towards their studies, target language and learning material. In this way, students gradually manage their own learning and adapt it to their individual needs.
Access to a variety of resources is essential to self-directed language learning. At the Language Centre, students can find various resources suitable for autonomous learning, both online and offline. Teachers and other Language Centre staff are available to assist with the selection.
Each and every student can, therefore, choose resources in accordance with their own interests and the goals they have set for themselves. Technology has facilitated access to resources for autonomous learning, particularly so-called authentic materials, i.e. materials that are not originally attended for language study but can be used as such. These authentic resources allow students to keep up with current events, thus bringing them closer to their target language and culture.