Presenters: Linda Murphy and Stella Hurd, The Open University, UK
The significance of the learner’s individual contribution to the learning process has been explored by many researchers (Breen, 2001; Larsen-Freeman, 2001; Robinson, 2002; Dörnyei and Ushioda, 2009). Their focus has been largely on the classroom setting, but these days providers are increasingly offering open, distance or blended learning. This indicates the importance of considering the role of learner contributions in such settings where greater demands are placed on the learner to manage their learning (Hurd, 2003, 2007; White, 2003). White (1999, 2003, 2005) refers to an essential process of learner adjustment to the specific characteristics of open and distance learning as the ‘learner-context interface’. Drawing on the experience of distance learners of languages at The Open University (UK), this paper will examine the nature and influence of learner contributions in this setting and the skills required of teacher advisers supporting learners in reconciling their individual contributions and the learning context.