e-ISSN: 1309-517X
Psychological Aspects of Digital Learning: A Self-Determination Theory Perspective

Nailya R. Salikhova 1 * , Martin F. Lynch 1 2 3, Albina B. Salikhova 4

CONT ED TECHNOLOGY, Volume 12, Issue 2, Article No: ep280

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The purpose of this article was to compile a general map of existing research on digital education from the Self-determination theory (SDT) perspective, in order to understand SDT’s contribution to the emerging field of research on digital technologies in education, the methods used to advance this research, the gaps in existing research, and the development of the theory itself in this context. Methods include searching in databases or search engines and chaining from known research papers. Papers were classed as relevant if their primary focus was to explore the Self-determination theory perspective for digital education. Articles published over the past twelve years in leading scientific journals were analyzed and synthesized. Results show that this theory is actively used both in studies on digital education and in the development of training programs. It makes a significant contribution to solving the problem of continuing digital learning and its motivation, to predicting the academic success of students, to increasing teachers’ motivation to use digital resources. The ideas of SDT have become an important reference point in various formats of digital education: MOOC, hybrid virtual classes, mobile applications, etc. The study found that digital education technologies provide many opportunities to satisfy the need for autonomy whereas they pose the greatest challenge to the need for relatedness. Research in the context of digital education provides new perspectives for the development of SDT, clarifying the relationships of basic needs among themselves. The materials presented in the article are useful for planning further research from the point of view of SDT, as well as for use in the development of digital educational resources. The scientific novelty of this study is to collate, highlight and generalize the directions of application of Self-determination theory in the rapidly developing field of digital education. As an original result, a new general map of the main areas of such research has been created. The review categorizes the literature into five different areas: predicting motivation and intentions to continue digital learning, predicting student academic success, combining SDT ideas with other theories in digital education research, application of SDT for creating online courses, and teachers’ readiness to use digital education.



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