Chevron Left
Back to Introduction to Self-Determination Theory: An approach to motivation, development and wellness

Learner Reviews & Feedback for Introduction to Self-Determination Theory: An approach to motivation, development and wellness by University of Rochester

489 ratings

About the Course

Self-determination theory (SDT) is an empirically based theory of motivation and psychological development that is especially focused on the basic psychological needs that promote high quality motivation and wellness, and how they are supported in social contexts. SDT details how the styles and strategies of motivators such as parents, teachers, coaches, managers, and health-care professionals can promote or undermine engagement and the positive consequences that follow from it. In this course, Professor Richard Ryan, co-founder of the theory, will provide an overview of SDT with special emphasis on how autonomy, competence, and relatedness supports and facilitates behavioral persistence, quality of relationships, and healthy developmental processes, among other topics. He will also discuss the convergence of behavioral phenomenological and neuropsychological aspects of autonomy within SDT research. In addition, he will illustrate practical applications of SDT, with emphasis on educational, work, sport, healthcare and psychotherapy settings....

Top reviews


Invalid date

Great course that reflect on Self determination, Intrinsic motivation that lead to one's development and wellness as well.


Invalid date

Brilliant course! one of the most amazing coursed I've completed in my entire life! Excellent professor and the material is beyong informative and exciting

Filter by:

1 - 25 of 171 Reviews for Introduction to Self-Determination Theory: An approach to motivation, development and wellness

By Yusei A

Apr 21, 2019

Overall, this course is excellent and I highly recommend other people who are interested in SDT, and motivation in general. You could learn the theory in a very systematic way, and you'll certainly gain the deep and insightful knowledge about the theory literally from theory to practice.

Only thing I'd like to change is that the amount of reading and the required time do not match well, and the content of non-required reading would appear on the test. As an assiduous learner, I am very grateful to read more and it is a helpful that there are many additional readings provided. However, because of time constrains sometimes I have to choose what to read and organise my study, which leads me not to read some articles. It would be much greater if additional reading allocations are more organised, and at least only the content of required readings should be on the test.

By Vangeepuram R M

Mar 21, 2019

I thank the mentor wholeheartedly for explaining how motivation affects various facets of life. His style of explanation is engaging and helps in introspecting oneself thoroughly.

By Sweswirl

Jul 19, 2019

Indispensable knowledge for any person. If you're a human being interacting with other human beings, this course is a must.

By Rainer B

Aug 19, 2019

Outstandingly Enlightening

A couple of months ago, I read " Why We Do What We Do" by Edward L.Deci -co-author of the SDT -, a book that opened my eyes on what actually motivation is all about. It raised my appetite for diving deeper into the Self Determination Theory and I bought the SDT handbook. Compared to Why-We-Do-What-We-Do it wasa heavy piece of literature not necessarily easy to digest and I shelfed it after a few days. Purely accidently, I heard about the coursera course on SDT and could not resist signing up for it. With hindsight, it was the best thing to do for me. The course is amazing. The life lessons I have learned go far beyond what I have ever experienced. With the great and effective presentation by Richard M. Ryan I am now in a position to make ful use of the SDT book. I wish I had been exposed to both decades earlier in my life.

By Christos A

Aug 19, 2020

Excellent course. After taking this, you realise that, stoicism and the self-determination form perhaps 95% of the basis of modern psychology, counselling and coaching!

By Brian J H

Aug 23, 2020

At 56 years old I have decided to pursue a second degree, this time in Psychology (BS in Finance '86). I just completed a paper entitled 'SDT and The Marginalized' and spent 100+ hours in research. I was most recently Managing Director of a large wealth mgmt firm before my diagnosis of a TBI. This added to my 1988 diagnosis of Bipolar 1 Disorder. These issues resulted in incarceration in 2002 and homelessness in 2010. When I was recently introduced to SDT in a Gen Psych course, it immediately resonated with me as to EXACTLY why I have been resilient- my 3 Psychological Needs have been met primarily in an autonomous presentation. This course is a expansive introduction to SDT and the areas of research that have provided consistent results in so many areas of life. My plan is to make a direct impact on our marginalized with an emphasis on using the SDT principles that are so addressed in this course. I HIGHLY recommend this for anyone trying to be a better, more authentic 'YOU' or if you are impacting others.

By Vaughan W

Jun 6, 2019

Brilliant course! Well organized, digestible content - fantastic introduction to the topic which is inspiring me to learn more. Would love to see an advanced course!

By Daniel O

Jan 19, 2021

Like many others, I am frustrated at not being able to access the Week 2 exam. I completed week 1, proceeded to week 2, completed week 2 and now find I am locked out from the exam. I keep getting 'encouragement' to complete the exam ahead of time, but am unable to do so. Having completed other Coursera courses, I believed the SDT course (with certificate) could be completed within my time schedule. I have set aside time to complete this course prior to resumption of my Masters degree, but am frustrated by the locking mechanism. totally unacceptable in my humble opinion, an on ongoing 'approach to motivation' problem for many.

By Steven M

Apr 25, 2019

An excellent introduction to the subject that goes quite in-depth in many of the lectures and readings. The presentations are excellent and you will get the most out of it if you read the research and supplemental readings suggested on the course. One warning though - the book 'Self-Determination Theory: Basic Psychological Needs in Motivation, Development, and Wellness' is used quite often and this is an expensive book to purchase if you do not have access to a copy.

By Cherry R M

Nov 18, 2020

This course is very helpful. Once finished you will be able to fully understand the SDT. Richard Ryan is a great speaker. He explained the concepts very well. Thank you for this course!

By Adithya K

Apr 30, 2020

This is a great course and primer on SDT. What helps the course is both the love that the instructor has for the subject which leads him to go into interesting depth into what makes SDT interesting and applicable to a variety of fields.

As with all fields of psychology, it is important to take the lessons of SDT with a grain of salt as seen with recent revelations in the field of ego death, but a convincing case is made for the value of SDT which I think makes this a great course to take if you are interested in the subject. An important note that the instructor tries to also state is that this course is only a primer, and not a fully exhaustive look into the depths of the theory, but if you are like me and were passingly interested in what the theory is, I think you get your money's worth with this course.

By Camila G V

May 17, 2020

Un excelente curso para comprender el Porqué actuamos y el porqué no actuamos en ciertas cosas de cierta manera. Me encanto comprender este tema para poder ayudar a mis consultantes en todos sus procesos de vida. Un contenido de calidad, con mucha experiencia y bases científicas. Totalmente a gusto con su contenido y 100% recomendado!

By Mona B G

Jan 22, 2020

It's great to be able to listen to scientist who defined the theory in the videos. You can really feel his commitment and deep knowledge in SDT. It is very inspiring.

By Manjula T

May 14, 2020

Learned more about how we can work on extrinsic motivation by working more on autonomy competence and relatedness, thank you so much for providing this opportunity

By Lucy H H

Jun 30, 2019

I thoroughly enjoyed studying this course. I feel it has really benefitted me and enhanced my understanding of the world and life. Thankyou.

By Karim E F

Sep 15, 2020

Very good course, with the many examples and richness of content. The reading are a bit long and too academic, could be better to have them with more info-graphic style. Thank you Richard

By Hamza A

Apr 6, 2020

of course the information was great but

after week 2 everything was almost predictable through the first two week

By Dominic A

May 20, 2019

Motivation is such an important area of human behaviour. This collection of theories is well thought out and does not add unnecessary variables to jazz itself up. Most impressive are the multitude of applications to which it is relevant. It is a privellege to learn about this theory from Dr Richard Ryan, the confidence he has in the material he is teaching certainly makes the theory all the more convincing. I highly recommend this course to anyone who is studying or just interested in human behaviour. It certainly has kicked the legs out of under some of the most widely accepted ideas promoted by Behaviourists!


Dec 27, 2020

Professor Ryan was a great lecturer. His approach to delivering good example for the many topics discussed, the variable for success or failure in self motivation were enlightening. My vision has widened in understanding the challenges to being able to be happy, achieving specific goals and the kind of support needed overall. Knowledge is empowering to me and I feel greater satisfaction after completing the course.

Thanks Professor Ryan

By Maia B

Aug 23, 2021

Dr. Ryan is an exemplary lecturer. This course is clearly based on extensive research highlighting SDT's scope as well as currency. The pace is very comfortable, and the readings offer a feel of the evolving and expansive applicability of the SDT theory. It can't get much better than having an opportunity to learn from one of the originating SDT theorists (Richard Ryan and Edward Deci) in this introductory course.

By tamara s

Feb 15, 2021

I loved hearing professor Ryan talking about the Self-Determination Theory, the theory, the researches and the references to our own lifes. This is a good course to learn the basics of SDT, but also interesting for people who already got the basics but want to hear and read about some researches. The course is not going very deep into the subject, is is an introduction but it motivates me to get deeper into SDT.

By Chien M L

Sep 14, 2019

Learning from Richard Ryan gave me a deeper understanding and appreciation of the SDT. The Singapore Teaching Practice espouses SDT in education and tge ti e spent to listen about the various research done about the theory was useful in seeing howi i can put this into practice.

I would have liked some more time spent on how autonomy might look like at various stages of development in students.

By Tamara S

Apr 2, 2019

I highly value the information I learned in this course, as the wife of a PhD Psychologist who studies SDT I have been highly motivated to have a more complete understanding of the theory. I am excited to implement the strategies I learned more fully into my work as a school based speech-language pathologist, as well as to relate in a new way with my partner.

By Roja M

Apr 18, 2020

Excellent course!! Thanks to coursera and Mr.Richard Ryan for this wonderful journey of learning. I am sure the knowledge gained from this course is going to have a very positive impact on me in both personal and professional field, and I can make a great impact on others helping them motivating and achieving their goals.

By Alejandro J

Jul 24, 2019

I have really enjoyed the course over the weeks. It has been a great opportunity to know more about SDT and its applications to several contexts of life. In addition, everything is illustrated with examples of research, which makes it easier to understand all the contents. Congrats and thanks to Dr. Ryan and his team!