Abstract : According to the self-determination theory, autonomy-support and structure are two fostering-engagement and learning practices. However, few studies, mostly correlational, simultaneously tested the effects of both practices on engagement. Regarding learning, studies focused only on autonomy-support and produced inconsistent findings. Some authors found higher learning in autonomy-supportive contexts (Vansteenkiste et al., 2004) while others found higher learning in less autonomy supportive contexts (Furtak and Kunter, 2012). In some cases, the conditions may also have manipulated structure, which would explain contradictory findings. Clearly differentiate the effects of structure and autonomy-support is therefore needed. The current study aimed at testing the main effects and interaction of both dimensions on engagement and learning. Eighty-four students in psychology performed a learning task on computer. They were randomly assigned to one of the four conditions determined by the manipulation of autonomy-support (low vs. high) and structure (moderated vs. high). After the task, participants filled in questionnaires about their engagement and learning. The results showed that they were significantly more engaged and learned more in highly structured conditions. No effects of autonomy-support were found. These results stress the importance of structure for engagement and learning. Contradictory to previous findings, no effects of autonomy-support were found. Given the study design, these results cannot be generalized to all situations. In classroom settings, other variables as teacher support could also be influential for students’ outcomes (Furrer & Skinner, 2003). However, this study is a step forward in the understanding of respective effects of autonomy-support and structure.

 

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