Eric HallFollow




School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Connie L. McDonald


hermeneutic, language learning, language learning strategies, phenomenology, South Korea, university students


Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Psychology | Other Education | Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the shared experiences and beliefs concerning the use of language learning strategies (LLS) among successful English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners at a South Korean university. The research questions focused on how successful EFL learners describe their experiences learning English through the lens of learning strategies. Further examination described the role LLS play in the student’s successful English language learning. The participants were 12 successful EFL students from a South Korean university. Data collection consisted of interviews, focus groups, and observations. Data analysis was achieved through use of the hermeneutic circle, which consists of reading, reflective writing (and rewriting), and interpretation. Additionally, phenomenological reduction, specifically hermeneutic reduction was used to reflectively explicate current assumptions within the text. Findings revealed three themes through examination of the participants’ data: 1. Participants’ strategy use in light of Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development 2. Proactivity, willingness to communicate and motivation among successful EFL students 3. Interrelation of individual strategies via strategy chains Discussion and recommendations for future research are located in chapter five.