Independent language learning
Explore what kind of learner you are and find out how this might determine how you learn and which resources might benefit you.
What is independent learning?
- A major opportunity. You choose what you do, where, when and why.
- A chance to make your learning fun by choosing material which really interests you.
- You taking responsibility for your own progress and achievements.
- Working on the language skills which you particularly need to progress on.
- Developing your confidence about learning new languages in the future.
- Developing your effectiveness as a learner, whatever the subject or skill.
- Making effective use of your study hours outside the constraints of lectures/seminars and set work.
- An opportunity to work constructively with friends and native speakers of the language you are learning.
What it isn't
- A lonely activity.
- Something which infringes on your leisure time.
- Being abandoned by tutors who aren't interested in your learning.
- A soft option.
Managing your learning
In order to manage your own learning, you will need to think about the following questions.
- What kind of a learner are you? Do you really know yourself? Why not try a questionnaire about your learning style?
- Why are you learning this language?
- What do you want to be able to achieve and by when? Why not try a questionnaire to identify your motivation styles?
- What are your strengths?
- What are your weaknesses?
- How much time are you required to spend on your language learning per week?
- How much time are you prepared to spend on your language learning per week?
- What resources will you need?
- What kind of support will you need?
- How will you stay motivated?
Why not complete our needs analysis form to focus your mind on your learning needs?
Revisit your document after a year to compare how you felt at the beginning of the process to how you feel after working on your language learning in a focused manner.
- Needs Analysis (PDF)
Write an action plan
- Action Plan (PDF)
Keep a journal of learning activities
- Language Learning Log (PDF)
- Students of French can use a Journal d'apprentissage de la langue française: French Learning Log (PDF)
Keep a language learning portfolio/dossier
Other activities which will help your language learning
Engage in learning activities meaningfully. Don't just passively watch some TV or scan a magazine article. You need to work on the language actively. Suggested ways of doing so are provided below.
Familiarise yourself with the resources available to you:
- in the University Centre for Academic English;
- on the internet (see Online resources);
- in The University of Manchester Library.
Assessing your progress
How will you know if you are making progress?
- Set yourself achievable, specific goals and sub-goals so that you can 'tick' them off as you progress.
- Maintain a language learning journal - you can track your progress.
- After each learning activity: note what you have learnt and achieved.
- After each activity: note what you still need to work on further and make yourself a commitment to do so.
- Every few weeks, reflect on your learning and review your strategies.
- Reflective Questionnaire (PDF)
- Seek feedback from friends and/or your Face-to-Face partner.
- Apply what you have learnt independently to work which is required by your lecturers/tutors and note how your performance is being enhanced.