SDT as Theoretical Framework

Posted By kbeeby on Nov 28, 2021 in LRNT 622 | 4 comments

In preparation for my ARP, I hope to gain a better understanding of self-determination and how it trelates to teacher-friendly onboarding of new technologies in K to 12 BC public schools. Self-determination theory (SDT) states that learners need competence, autonomy, and relatedness (Haerens, 2021) in order to be motivated to determine their learning goals. The appeal to this theory is that it also considers the significance of social, cultural, and psychological factors on motivation (Ryan & Deci, 2000). More specifically, Weinstein and Ryan (2011) considered the connection between stress and the level of self-determination. Weinstein and Ryan also noted a correlation between people with high resilience and mindfulness and stronger self-determination. It would be interesting to explore this connection between stress and motivation in a particular educational context during the external stressors of a global pandemic and extreme weather events. 

In further research, I hope to get a better understanding of the line between self-determination theory and other psychological theories such as motivation theory. I also need to gain further understanding of how stress and motivations are measured in self-determination research. 



Haerens, L. Education. Center for Self-Determination Theory.

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55(1), 68-78. 

Weinstein, N., & Ryan, R. M. (2011). A self-determination theory approach to understanding stress incursion and responses. Stress and Health, 27(1), 4–17.  

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  1. This sounds super interesting, Kristin. This is my first exposure to Self-Determination Theory, but it sounds as though there’s a connection to Adult Learning Theory (the subject of my own study), which assumes a level of autonomy in learners. It seems as though both recognize that learners benefit from being treated as individuals.

    I’m also really interested in motivation theory and how it applies to the orientation of new educators… but there’s only so much time to do all the reading and apply it to my proposal. It may have to wait for another project.

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    • Chris! I was just about to say the same thing on your post! I also looked at Adult Learning Theory. The hardest part about choosing these theoretical frameworks is distinguishing them from one another.

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  2. Fantastic post Kristin and one of the best descriptions of self-determination theory that I’ve read — crisp, clear, and concise — really well done. I think this is an excellent choice for your research. The way you’ve expanded the idea and connected it with social, cultural, and psychological factors, and with levels of stress shows how well you understand the theory. Great work

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    • Thanks Deborah. That’s reassuring!

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