Examining the effectiveness of online resources in developing English as a Foreign Language (EFL) reading skills autonomously

Yahya Bouhafa(1*), Shelby R. Hochberg(2)
(1) Binghamton University
(2) Columbia University
(*) Corresponding Author
DOI : 10.24256/itj.v3i2.1839


The purpose of this mixed methods study is to investigate the effectiveness of online resources in developing English as a Foreign Language (EFL) reading skills autonomously among undergraduate students at the Faculty of Letters and Humanities Fes-Agdal as a representative of the socio-cultural and higher education system of Morocco. The sample consisted of an experimental group and a control group. The experimental group consisted of 120 students that were exposed to three main online tools (Newsela.com, mrnussbaum.com, and rewordify.com) and virtual meetings and instruction provision using Facebook. The control group consisted of 120 students that benefited only from the university’s regular reading courses. The experimental intervention period was followed by interviews with a sample of 25 students from both groups providing a qualitative perspective. The overall results show that online resources had a positive effect on the development of metacognitive skills. Students tended to appreciate the inclusion of online resources in the classroom without devaluing the role of their EFL teacher – the students did not expect online resources to fully replace the role of their teachers. 


Mixed-Methods; Learner-Autonomy; Post-Secondary education, Online Learning


Benson, P., & Voller, P. (2014). Autonomy and independence in language learning. Philadelphia, PA: Routledge.

Bernard, R. M., Brauer, A., Abrami, P. C., & Surkes, M. (2004). The development of a questionnaire for predicting online learning achievement. Distance Education, 25(1), 31-47 https://doi.org/10.1080/0158791042000212440

Brown, J. D., & Rodgers, T. S. (2002). Doing second language research: An introduction to the theory and practice of second language research for graduate/master's students in TESOL and applied linguistics, and others. UK: Oxford University Press.

Brown, R. (1988). Group processes: Dynamics within and between groups. UK: Basil Blackwell.

Bryman, A. (2008). Of methods and methodology. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, 3(2), 159-168 https://doi.org/10.1108/17465640810900568

Chik, A. (2014). Digital gaming and language learning: Autonomy and community. Language Learning & Technology, 18(2), 85-100. https://doi.org/10.2407/1262973716

Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2000). Research Methods in Education. London: Routledge Falmer.

Colman, A. M. (Ed.). (2019). Companion encyclopedia of psychology. Philadelphia, PA: Routledge.

Dam, L. (2001). Learner autonomy: new insights AILA Review. Chising World, 35(4), 22-32 https://doi.org/1461-0213

Dang, T. T., & Robertson, M. (2010). Impacts of learning management system on learner autonomy in EFL learning. International Education Studies, 3(3), 3-11. https://doi.org/1913-9039

Elmunsyah, H., Hidayat, W. N., & Asfani, K. (2019, April). Interactive learning media innovation: utilization of augmented reality and pop-up book to improve user’s learning autonomy. IOP Conference Series, NYC, NYS

Eskey, D. E. (2002). Reading and the Teaching of L2 Reading. TESOL Journal, 11(1), 5-9. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.1949-3533.2002.tb00060.x

Etikan, I., Musa, S. A., & Alkassim, R. S. (2016). Comparison of convenience sampling and purposive sampling. American Journal of Theoretical and Applied Statistics, 5(1), 1-34. https://doi.org/10.11648/j.ajtas.20160501.11

Firat, M. (2016). Measuring the e-learning autonomy of distance education students. Open Praxis, 8(3), 191-201. https://doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.8.3.310

Johnson, R. B., & Onwuegbuzie, A. J. (2004). Mixed methods research: A research paradigm whose time has come. Educational Researcher, 33(7), 14-26. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X033007014

Johnson, R. B., Onwuegbuzie, A. J., & Turner, L. A. (2007). Toward a definition of mixed methods research. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 1(2), 112-133. https://doi.org/10.1177/1558689806298224

Kaplan, H., & Roth, G. (2002). Choice is good but relevance is excellent: Autonomy affecting teacher behaviors that predict students’ engagement in learning. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 72(2), 261-278. https://doi.org/10.1348/000709902158883

Kasper, L. (2003). Interactive hypertext and the development of ESL students’ reading skills. The Reading Matrix, 3(3), 15-22. https://doi.org/10.17507/tpls.0609.05

Kim, S. (2014). Developing autonomous learning for oral proficiency using digital storytelling. Language Learning & Technology, 18(2), 20-35. https://doi.org/1094-3501

Koç, D., Mısır, H., Koban & Koç, S.E. (2018). An Analysis of Learner Autonomy and Autonomous Learning Practices in Massive Open Online Language Courses. Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Special Issue on CALL, 4 (4), 125-154. https://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awej/call4.3

Lamb, T., & Reinders, H. (2006). Supporting independent language learning: Issues and interventions. NYC, NYS: Peter Lang.

Lamb, T., & Reinders, H. (Eds.). (2008). Learner and teacher autonomy: concepts, realities, and response (Vol. 1). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing.

Little, D., Dam, L., & Legenhausen, L. (2017). Language learner autonomy: what, why and how. Second Language Acquisition, 4(1), 1-21. https://doi.org/9781783098583

Liu, Y. (2010). Social media tools as a learning resource. Journal of Educational Technology Development and Exchange (JETDE), 3(1), 8-21. https://doi.org/10.18785/jetde.0301.08

Marzban, A. (2011). Improvement of reading comprehension through computer-assisted language learning in Iranian intermediate EFL students. Procedia Computer Science, 3(1), 3-10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procs.2010.12.003

Nuttall, C. (1998). Teaching reading skills in a foreign language. Oxford: Heinemann English Language Teaching

Porte, G. K. (2010). Appraising research in second language learning: A practical approach to critical analysis of quantitative research. London: John Benjamins Publishing.

Ramirez-Correa, P. E., Arenas-Gaitan, J., & Rondan-Cataluna, F. J. (2015). Gender and acceptance of e-learning: a multi-group analysis based on a structural equation model among college students in Chile and Spain. PloS one, 10(10), 37-49. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0140460

Reinders, H. (2018). Technology and autonomy. The TESOL Encyclopedia of English Language Teaching, 15(3), 1-5. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118784235.eelt0433

Reinders, H., & White, C. (2016). 20 years of autonomy and technology: How far have we come and where to next? Language Learning & Technology, 20(2), 143-154. https://doi.org/189746/55415915489

Reynard, R. (2003). Internet-based ESL for distance adult students-A framework for dynamic language learning. Canadian Modern Language Review, 60(2), 123-143. https://doi.org/0008-4506

Rödl, S. (2016). Education and autonomy. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 50(1), 84-97. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9752.12175

Seliger, H. W., Seliger, H., Shohamy, E., & Shohamy, E. G. (1989). Second language research methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sweeny, S. M. (2010). Writing for the instant messaging and text messaging generation: Using new literacies to support writing instruction. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 54(2), 121-130. https://doi.org/10.1598/JAAL.54.2.4

Szőcs, K. (2017). Teachers’ and learners’ beliefs about language learning autonomy and its implications in the classroom: A mixed method study. Apples: Journal of Applied Language Studies, 11(2). https://doi.org/10.17011/apples/urn.201708233542

Tsai, Y. H., Lin, C. H., Hong, J. C., & Tai, K. H. (2018). The effects of metacognition on online learning interest and continuance to learn with MOOCs. Computers & Education, 121(1), 18-29. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2018.02.011

Valencia-Arias, A., Chalela-Naffah, S., & Bermudez-Hernandez, J. (2019). A proposed model of e-learning tools acceptance among university students in developing countries. Education and Information Technologies, 24(2), 1057-1071. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-018-9815-2

Vieira, F., Barbosa, I., Paiva, M., & Fernandes, I. S. (2008). Teacher education towards teacher (and learner) autonomy. Learner and Teacher Autonomy: Concepts, Realities, and Responses, 217(1), 236-246 https://doi.org/10.1075/aals.1.18vie

Wang, Q. (2008). A generic model for guiding the integration of ICT into teaching and learning. Innovations in Education and Teaching International, 45(4), 411-419. https://doi.org/10.1080/14703290802377307

Wang, Q., & Zhang, H. (2014). Promoting teacher autonomy through university–school collaborative action research. Language Teaching Research, 18(2), 222-241. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362168813505942

Wang, T. H. (2010). Web-based dynamic assessment: Taking assessment as teaching and learning strategy for improving students’ e-Learning effectiveness. Computers & Education, 54(4), 1157-1166. https://doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2009.11.001

Wu, M., Yu, K., Yu, S., & Schölkopf, B. (2007, June). Local learning projections. Proceedings of the 24th international conference on Machine learning, USA.

Wulandari, M. (2017). Fostering learning autonomy through the implementation of flipped learning in language teaching media course. International Journal of Indonesian Education and Teaching (IJIET), 1(2), 194-205. https://doi.org/10.24071/ijiet.2017.010209

Yang, M. N. (2007). Language learning strategies for junior college students in Taiwan: Investigating ethnicity and proficiency. Asian EFL Journal, 9(2), 35-57. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17507/tpls.0505.05

Yang, Y. F. (2016). Self-directed learning to develop autonomy in an online ESP community. Interactive Learning Environments, 24(7), 1629-1646. https://doi.org/10.1080/10494820.2015.1041402

Article Statistic

Abstract view : 60 times
PDF views : 27 times

The PDF file you selected should load here if your Web browser has a PDF reader plug-in installed (for example, a recent version of Adobe Acrobat Reader).

If you would like more information about how to print, save, and work with PDFs, Highwire Press provides a helpful Frequently Asked Questions about PDFs.

Alternatively, you can download the PDF file directly to your computer, from where it can be opened using a PDF reader. To download the PDF, click the Download link above.

Fullscreen Fullscreen Off

Full Text: PDF

How To Cite This :


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2021 Yahya Bouhafa, Shelby R. Hochberg

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.