Pre-conference workshop #2

Using self-determination theory (SDT) to inform professional development, understand why active learning works, and foster the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

Presented by: Chantal Levesque-Bristol, Lucas Jeno and Vigdis Vandvik

Room: Troldtog – Level 3

Time: Wednesday, 09.00-11.45


Abstract: The totality of our work as professional developers and teachers can greatly benefit from being informed by a strong theoretical framework. In this workshop, we will provide an overview of self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan, 1985; 2017), a theory of motivation which has been developed and empirically tested for the past 40 years. In this workshop, we will discuss the core concepts of Basic Psychological Needs and the Continuum of self-determination. Through demonstrations and discussions, you will leave this workshop with practical examples of 1) how to apply the motivational principles of self-determination theory to your work as professional developers; 2) how to use self-determination theory to understand the mechanisms underlying effective active learning pedagogies (team-based learning, group work, problem-based learning) at fostering engagement, motivation, and learning; and 3) how to design SoTL projects emanating from teacher development programs and the application of active learning pedagogies following the motivational principles of SDT.


Chantal Levesque-Bristol is Professor of Educational Psychology and Executive Director of the Center for Instructional Excellence at Purdue University. She holds a Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Ottawa, and has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Rochester and Professor of Psychology and Director of the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning at Missouri State University. She has taught courses in statistics and research methods at the undergraduate and graduate level. Her scholarly work is in the area of human motivation generally and academic motivation specifically. Using the theoretical framework of Self-Determination Theory, she conducts basic research in motivation and social psychology and applied research in education, learning, and retention, and has been active in several Teaching and Learning program. As Executive Director of the Center for Instructional Excellence (CIE), she provides support for the instructional community and resources to faculty interested in teaching and learning pedagogies as well as the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL). CIE is also a collaborating partner in the large course transformation project IMPACT (Instruction Matters: Purdue Academic Course Transformation) at Purdue. Levesque-Bristol is the recipient of several Teaching and Research Awards. She is a grantee of the National Institute of Mental Health and the Department of Education (First-in-the World grant). She has presented and conducted workshops at several institutions of Higher Education in the U.S., and overseas, on motivation and learning principles. She can be reached at or at linkedin.

Lucas Jeno is a Researcher at the University of Bergen at the Centre of Excellence in Biology Education. He holds a Ph.D. in Education at the University of Bergen, and has been a visiting scholar at the University of Rochester. Jeno´s research interest is centered around all aspects of students´ motivation, and how it is applied to areas such as active learning, technology, and learning. These research areas have been investigated through the lenses of the motivational theory of Self-Determination Theory. Jeno teaches statistics at the undergraduate level, and conducts workshops in different active learning techniques for faculty. He can be reached at

Vigdis Vandvik is Professor of plant ecology and the leader of bioCEED (Centre for Excellence in Biology Education) at the University of Bergen. Her biology research projects typically involve field work campaigns and long-term field experiments; activities that offer ample opportunities for student involvement in the research. Since 2014 Vandvik has been the leader of bioCEED, a Norwegian Centre of Excellence in Education. bioCEED’s vision is that we can develop and improve biology educations through exploiting the interrelationships between the theoretical foundations, practical skills, and societal relevance of biology. Vandvik is also an active participant in the Norwegian public debate, particularly relating to the role of and developments in higher education, nature management and climate change, and science in society more generally. Vigdis can be reached at




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