Re: Self-Determination theory versus SCT and AT

From: Tony Whitson (
Date: Fri Feb 04 2005 - 12:54:52 PST

It seems to me this poses a very interesting problem.

The autonomy of the individual "self" is obviously not a core tenet of
   On the other hand, Deci and Ryan can be regarded as psychologists who
specialize in the psychology of individual motivation (rather than as
comprehensive general social theorists). It seems to me there is no reason
why a theoretical orientation that recognizes the limitations on
individual self-determination could not include accounting for kinds and
degrees of self-determination, as well as the efficacy of beliefs in
individual autonomy (ideological or otherwise), within developing activity
    What do you think?

On Fri, 4 Feb 2005, George wrote:

> Dear all,
> I have recently come across self-determination theory (SDT; cf. [1]) and am
> wondering about your opinion of how you think if we can collate SDT with
> socio-cultural theory and systemic-structural activity theory (SSTA)? or,
> does SDT contradict with SCT and SSTA? I am presently working on a paper on
> e-Learning where I am pointing out that we need a paradigm shift to think in
> terms of a "Weltanstauung" (whole world view) . the origin of my opinion
> stems from the difficulties of learning and teaching activities (cf. [2]) and
> liaises with descriptive and prescriptive systems. Hence, on this ground, I
> believe that activity theory opens a range of new perspectives because it
> contains motivational assets of learning and teaching. But, since I am not
> familiar with SDT, I would appreciate to hear your critical opinion. Thank
> you very much.
> George
> (Hansjoerg von Brevern)
> Reference:
> [1] E. L. Deci and R. M. Ryan, "The “What” and “Why” of Goal Pursuits:
> Human Needs and the Self-Determination of Behavior", Psychological Inquiry,
> 11 (2000) 4, pp. 227–268.
> [2] H. Giest and J. Lompscher, "Formation of Learning Activity and
> Theoretical Thinking in Science Teaching", in Vyogotsky's Educational Theory
> in Cultural Context, Learning in Doing: Social, Cognitive, and Computational
> Perspectives, A. Kozulin, B. Gindis, V. Ageyev, and S. M. Miller (Eds.).
> Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003, pp. 267-288.
> -------------------------------------
> Research in e-Learning Objects, e-Learning meta data standards, didactical
> activity, Systemic-Structural Activity Theory, and Socio-cultural Theory

Tony Whitson
UD School of Education

"those who fail to reread
  are obliged to read the same story everywhere"
                   -- Roland Barthes, S/Z (1970)

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