This study investigated a learner-based approach of applying online reading to improve learner autonomy and lexical knowledge. Learner autonomy was operationalized as learners' self-initiation and self-regulation. A total of 90 students at a Chinese university were divided equally into three groups. Participants in the Experimental Group One (EG1) read online after receiving a package of nine hourly sessions in metacognitive strategy training. Participants in the Experimental Group Two (EG2) read online without receiving any strategy training. Participants in the Control Group (CG) only read printed versions of the target materials. Students in the EG1 outperformed those in the other two groups in terms of their ability to plan, monitor, and evaluate reading. Planning became the most exercised skill, followed by evaluating and monitoring. A significant difference between EG2 and CG with respect to their abilities was not detected. Students in the EG1 also improved the most in lexical knowledge, and although students in the EG2 showed higher lexical knowledge scores than those in the CG, the difference was not significant. In addition, improvements in lexical knowledge were maintained best by EG1 on a delayed test. Overall, this study suggests that providing students with metacognitive strategy training for online reading is an effective approach.
- Learner autonomy
- Lexical knowledge
- Metacognitive strategy training
- Online reading