This study investigated the experience of learners enrolled on an Open University (UK) French course, and included personality factors, motivation, and tutor and student roles. The data gathered via multiple elicitation methods gave useful insights into issues of special relevance to distance language education, in particular the lack of fit between an inherently social discipline such as language learning and the distance context, whose main characterizing feature is remoteness from others. Motivation was seen to play a crucial role in success, along with tutor feedback, and personal responsibility for learning. Increased confidence and self?regulation were beneficial outcomes of the process of learning at a distance, and numerous suggestions for learning approaches based on personal experience were offered for language learners new to distance learning. The study concluded that the task for distance practitioners is to build on the insights shown by learners themselves, in order to target support where it is most needed.
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