Language Learning Strategies and Learner Autonomy: The Case of Indonesian Tertiary EFL Students

Main Article Content

Urip Sulistiyo
Dairabi Kamil


This study aimed at investigating the language learning strategies and autonomy of 76 Indonesian EFL university students and examining the correlations between the two. The Oxford's (1990) Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL) for ESL/EFL learners was used to collect the data on students’ language learning strategy use and an adapted questionnaire developed by Chan et al. (2002) was used to assess students’ autonomy. The results revealed that the Indonesian EFL students were medium users of memory, cognitive, compensation, affective, and social strategies but high users of metacognitive strategies. The participants also had positive perceptions of their autonomous learning abilities and did engage in several autonomous activities both inside and beyond the classroom. However, many of the most preferred out-of-class activities are more receptive rather than productive language use. Significant correlations were found between students’ language learning strategy use and their perceptions of their abilities, and between their strategy use and the practices of autonomous English language learning outside the class. Practical implications for English language teaching in the Indonesian context are put forward.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

Author Biographies

Daflizar, English Education Department, Education and Teacher Training Faculty, State Islamic Institute of Kerinci, Indonesia

A senior lecturer at the English Education Department of the Faculty of Education and Teacher Training, State Islamic Institute of Kerinci, Indonesia. He obtained his Master’s degree in TESOL and Ph.D. degree in Education (TESOL) from the University of Canberra, Australia. His research interests include learner autonomy, language learning strategies, language teaching and learning, technology-based language learning, and language learning motivation.

Urip Sulistiyo, English Education Department, Education and Teacher Training Faculty, Universitas Jambi, Indonesia

A senior lecturer at the English Department of the Faculty of Teacher Training and Education of Jambi University. His research interest is in the areas of language learning, curriculum and material development, teacher education, and teacher professional development.

Dairabi Kamil, Education Department, Education and Teacher Training Faculty, State Islamic Institute of Kerinci, Indonesia

A senior lecturer at the English Education Department of the Faculty of Education and Teacher Training, State Islamic Institute of Kerinci. He holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from the Faculty of Education, International Islamic University, Malaysia, an M.Ed. in TESOL from Monash University, Australia, and a B.Ed. from Jambi University, Indonesia. His research interests include English teacher professional development, curriculum and instruction, and teaching materials development.


Alfian. (2021). The Favored Language Learning Strategies of Islamic University EFL Learners. Studies in English Language and Education, 8(1), 47-64.

Ardasheva, Y., & Tretter, T. (2013). Strategy inventory for language learning-ELL student form: Testing for factorial validity. Modern Language Journal, 97(2), 472-487.

Bećirović, S., Brdarević-Čeljo, A., & Polz, E. (2021). Exploring the relationship between language learning strategies, academic achievement, grade level, and gender. Journal of Language and Education, 7(2), 93-106.

Benson, P. (2001). Teaching and researching autonomy in language learning. Longman.

Benson, P. (2007). Autonomy in language teaching and learning. Language Teaching, 40(1), 21-40.

Benson, P. (2013). Teaching and researching autonomy (2nd ed.). Routledge.

Chamot, A. U., & Kupper, L. (1989). Learning strategies in foreign language instruction. Foreign Language Annals, 22(1), 13-22.

Chan, V., Spratt M., and Humphreys, G. (2002). Autonomous language learning: Hong Kong tertiary students' attitudes and behaviours. Evaluation & Research in Education, 16(1), 1-18.

Chen, H. I., & Pan, H. H. (2015). Learner autonomy and the use of language learning strategies in a Taiwanese junior high school. Journal of Studies in Education, 5(1), 52-64.

Cotterall, S. (1999). Key variables in language learning: What do learners believe about them? System, 27, 493-513.

Dafei, D. (2007). An exploration of the relationship between learner autonomy and English proficiency. The Asian EFL Journal, 24, 1-23.

Daflizar. (2017). Readiness for learner autonomy: An investigation into beliefs and practices on Indonesian tertiary EFL students (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Canberra).

Daflizar. (2020). Autonomous English language learning beyond the classroom: Indonesian tertiary students’ practices and constraints. International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research, 19(10), 194-213.

Dardjowidjojo, S. (2000). English teaching in Indonesia. English Australia Journal, 18(1), 21-30.

Dickinson, L. (1987). Self-instruction in language learning. Cambridge University Press.

Dincer, A., Yesilyurt, S., & Takkac, M. (2012). The effect of autonomy supportive climates on EFL learners’ engagement, achievement and competence in English speaking classrooms. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 46, 3890-3894.

Dörnyei, Z., and Csizér, K. (1998). Ten commandments for motivating language learners: Results of an empirical study. Language Teaching Research, 2, 203-29.

Farahani, M. (2014). From spoon feeding to self-feeding: Are Iranian EFL learners ready to take charge of their own learning? Electronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, 11(1), 98-115.

Gani, A., S., Khairisman, & Samad, I. A. (2018). Investigating rural students’ strategies in English learning. International Journal of Education, 11(1), 68-77. doi:

Griffiths, C. (2008). Strategies and good language learners. In C. Griffiths (ed.), Lessons from good language learners (pp. 83-98). Cambridge University Press.

Grow, G. O. (1991). Teaching learners to be self-directed. Adult Education Quarterly, 41(3), 125-149.

Habόk, A., Kong, Y., Ragchaa, J., & Magyar, A. (2021). Cross-cultural differences in foreign language learning strategy preferences among Hungarian, Chinese and Mongolian university students. Heliyon, 7, 1-7.

Holec, H. (1981). Autonomy and foreign language learning. Pergamon Press.

Iamudom, T., & Tangkiengsirisin, S. (2020). A comparison study of learner autonomy and language learning strategies among Thai EFL learners. International Journal of Instruction, 13(2), 199-212.

Kessler, G. (2009). Student-initiated attention to form in wiki-based collaborative writing. Language Learning & Technology, 13(1), 79-95.

Lai, C., Yeung, Y., & Hu, J. (2015). University student and teacher perceptions of teacher roles in promoting autonomous language learning with technology outside the classroom. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 29(4), 1-21.

Little, D. (1991). Learner autonomy 1: Definitions, issues and problems. Authentik.

Littlewood, W. (1999). Defining and developing autonomy in East Asian contexts. Applied Linguists, 20(1), 71-94.

Mohamadpour, P. (2013). Realization of autonomy and English language proficiency among Iranian high school students. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 3(7), 1187-1193.

Nur, C. (2004). English language teaching in Indonesia: Changing policies and practices. In H. W. Kam & R. Y. L. Wong (Eds.), English language teaching in East Asia today: Changing policies and practices (2nd ed., pp. 178-186). Eastern University Press.

O'Malley, J. M., & Chamot, A. U. (1990). Learning strategies in second language acquisition. Cambridge University Press.

Ortega, L. (2009). Sequences and processes in language learning. In Long, M. H., & Doughty, C. J. (eds.), Handbook of language teaching (pp. 81-105). Blackwell.

Oxford, R. L. (1990). Language learning strategies: What every teacher should know. Heinle & Heinle.

Oxford, R. L. (1996). Language learning strategies around the world: Cross-cultural perspectives. University of Hawaii Press.

Oxford, R. L. (2016). Teaching and researching language learning strategies: Self-regulation in context. Routledge.

Oxford, R. (2017). Teaching and researching language learning strategies: Self-regulation in context (2nd edition). Routledge.

Oxford, R. L., & Burry-Stock, J. A. (1995). Assessing the use of language learning strategies worldwide with the ESL/EFL version of the Strategy Inventory for Language Learning (SILL). System, 23(1), 1-23.

Oxford, R. L., & Gkonou, C. (2018). Interwoven: Culture, language, and learning strategies. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 8(2), 403-426.

Oxford, R. L., Griffiths, C., Longhini, A., Cohen, A. D., Macaro, E., & Harris, V. (2014). Experts' personal metaphors and similes about language learning strategies. System, 43(2), 11-29.

Oxford, R. L., & Nyikos, M. (1989). Variables affecting choice of language learning strategies by university students. The Modern Language Journal, 73(3), 291-300.

Oxford, R. L., Rubin, J., Chamot, A. U., Schramm, K., Lavine, R., Gunning, P., & Nel, C. (2014). The learning strategy prism: Perspectives of learning strategy experts. System, 43(3), 30-49.

Palfreyman, D. (2003). Introduction: Culture and learner autonomy. In D. Palfreyman & R. C. Smith (Eds.), Learner autonomy across cultures: Language education perspectives (pp. 1-19). Palgrave Macmillan.

Razeq, A. A. A. (2014). University EFL learners’ perceptions of their autonomous learning responsibilities and abilities. RELC Journal, 45(3), 321-326.

Rianto, A. (2020). A study of language learning strategy use among Indonesian EFL university students. Register Journal, 13(02), 231-256.

Rubin, J. (1981). Study of cognitive processes in second language learning. Applied Linguistics, 11(2), 117-131.

Samaie, M., Khany, R., & Habibi, N. (2015). On the relationship between learner autonomy and language learning strategies among Iranian EFL students. International Journal of Educational Investigations, 2(6), 96-109.

Sewell, H. D. (2003). The good language learner: Second language acquisition. Question PG/03/09.

Smith, R. (2008). The history of learner autonomy. In L. Dam (Ed.), 9th Nordic conference on developing learner autonomy in language learning and teaching: status and ways ahead after twenty years, 2006. CVU.

Spratt, M., Humphreys, G., & Chan, V. (2002). Autonomy and motivation: Which comes first? Language Teaching Research, 6(3), 245-266.

Tamer, O. (2013). A Dissertation on students’ readiness for autonomous learning of English as a foreign language (Master’s dissertation, The University of Sunderland). 109thesis.pdf

Üstünlüoğlu, E. (2009). Autonomy in language learning: Do students take responsibility for their learning? Journal of Theory and Practice in Education, 5(2), 148-169.

Wachidah, S. (2001). EFL learning autonomy and output planning: A case in a Javanese-dominated general high school (Sekolah Menengah Umum) in Indonesia (Unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Sydney).

Wang, X. (2016). Cultivation of learners' autonomy through strategy training. 2nd Annual International Conference on Social Science and Contemporary Humanity Development.

Wenden, A. (1987). How to be a successful language learner: Insights and prescriptions from L2 learners. Learner Strategies in Language Learning, 103-117.

Wong, L. L. C., & Nunan, D. (2011). The learning styles and strategies of effective language learners. System, 39(2), 144-163.

Yıldırım, Ö. (2008). Turkish EFL learners’ readiness for learner autonomy. Journal of Language and Linguistic Studies, 4(1), 65-80.

Yumuk, A. (2002). Letting go of control to the learners: the role of the Internet in promoting a more autonomous view of learning in an academic translation course. Educational Research, 44(2), 141-156.

Yusnimar. (2018). Autonomous learning and teacher guidance: Towards the improvement of EFL students’ prepared talk in speaking practice. Studies in English Language and Education, 6(1), 97-107.