RE: Self-Determination theory versus SCT and AT

From: del Valle, Rodrigo Tomas (
Date: Fri Feb 04 2005 - 13:40:19 PST


I am Rodrigo, from Chile, but currently working in my PhD in education
at Indiana University... I have been silently participating and enjoying
this list for several months now, but haven't posted much... Although I
don't know much about SDT the contextual approaches learners take while
working online is one of my research interests, and I am struggling with
a similar tension, so here I go :-)

It seems to me that quite often what happens in e-learning is that the
learner is essentially working by himself, of course situated in a
specific learning context, culture, probably with other learners or at
least a facilitator, etc, but in the absence of a "campus" or classroom
other contexts such as work, family, personal needs, etc. could affect
how learners self regulate their learning more than in a face to face
environment... In fact those that choose online learning probably do it
because that personal context does not allow him to learn in a face to
face environment.

High dropout rates in online learning suggest that the learning demands
that come with the freedom and flexibility of online learning challenge
individuals to manage their time and the learning process in a unique
way... Usually students must keep the learning demands in the foreground
as they manage their work and home life, there is no fixed time to be in
class or other cues to say, "time to learn"... In this sense I do think
that in the context of online learning, theories that are more focused
on the individual, such as SDT, can illuminate an activity analysis
approach and vice versa.

Rodrigo del Valle -
IST Doctoral Student
Center for Research on Learning and Technology
LTTS Staff
School of Education
Indiana University

-----Original Message-----
From: George []
Sent: Friday, February 04, 2005 2:14 PM
Subject: Self-Determination theory versus SCT and AT

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.

(Hansjoerg von Brevern)


[1] E. L. Deci and R. M. Ryan, "The "What" and "Why" of Goal
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.


Research in e-Learning Objects, e-Learning meta data standards,
didactical activity, Systemic-Structural Activity Theory, and
Socio-cultural Theory

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