This chapter explores the nature of support for the language learner within the context\ud of open and distance learning. It argues that, in order to be in a position to advise and\ud support appropriately and effectively, it is necessary to address the many variables\ud that exist in any body of learners, including beliefs and attitudes, styles and strategies,\ud and to take these into account when designing a course for distance learners.\ud Preliminary work in this area is reported through the findings of a study into the\ud beliefs, strategies and attitudes to support carried out with a group of Open University\ud (OU) students of French. Finally, it is proposed that if we are to promote an\ud autonomous approach to distance language learning, we need to extend our research\ud into the kinds of strategies that prove particularly effective in this context, and the\ud links that these may have with other learner variables. Tutors and course writers\ud should also embrace the potential of the Internet to advise and support distance\ud learners on-line, to offer new opportunities for knowledge gathering and language\ud practice, and to encourage mutual support
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