Choose your project – motivation

You have reached the project selection phase in the course. Exploring a motivation theory will provide a framework to help you decide if your ideas connect with your personal drive and goals. You will look at autonomy, competence, and relatedness to gauge if your project idea coincides with your values, passions and skills. Discover the power of self-determination theory to guide your project choices effectively. 

Watch the video at the top of this path about Deci and Ryan’s Self Determination Theory which explains the concepts of autonomy, competence, and relatedness that motivates behavior. 

The 3 factors are applied by: 


  • Personal Choice:  Students have the autonomy to select their project focus.
  • Self-Governance: Students set personal goals and create action plans independently.
  • Independence: There is self-directed learning and problem-solving without constant supervision.  


  • Skill Development: There are opportunities for students to acquire and enhance their skills in new areas.
  • Feedback and Recognition: Constructive feedback and recognizing achievements will boost confidence in students’ abilities. 
  • Challenging Tasks: Presenting challenges that are neither too easy nor too difficult, so that students can stretch their capabilities and experience a sense of accomplishment.


  • Social Support: There is a supportive environment where individuals feel connected and valued by others. 
  • Sense of Belonging: Creating a sense of community and belonging where individuals feel accepted and understood by peers and mentors.
  • Collaboration: Promoting collaborative efforts and shared goals among students who are working toward a common goal. 

Activity – State a short outline of the project that you would like to start.

Autonomy Exploration:

  • Reflect on the autonomy you have in your project planning process. How does having the freedom to choose their project focus influence your motivation? Do you feel a sense of ownership and direction in choosing your project? How does it relate to your passions and interests? 
  • Write a reflective journal entry, create a mind map, draw a visualization, or record a short video discussing your thoughts on autonomy and how it motivates you – or doesn’t motivate you.

Competence Reflection:

  • Consider your skills, knowledge, and growth opportunities in relation to your  project idea. How does acquiring new skills or tackling challenging tasks affect your motivation? How does feedback and recognition contribute to your confidence and competence? What do you need in this area? 
  • You can write a reflection, draw a visual representation of your skills and areas that need development, or make a video that shares your thoughts on mastering  a new skill and how it affects your motivation.

Relatedness Reflection:

  • Evaluate your sense of connection, community, and collaboration that will happen in your project. How does social support, belonging, and teamwork influence your motivation and project idea? How can collaboration enhance your project’s impact and success? Who do you need around you to make this happen?
  • You  can write your reflection or draw your ideal project team, or make a video discussing the importance of relatedness in driving your motivation and who those people will be.

Project Adjustment and Action Plan:

  • After reflecting on autonomy, competence, and relatedness, decide if your project idea motivates you. Then think of how it can be improved or adjusted so that you will see the project to completion.

Share your project choice on this path using Deci and Ryan’s theory to justify your choice. You can share the different elements of the theory individually – or all together.

To continue, return to Module 3 Opportunity Card.

This Collective

By MissAmy

Guanacaste, Costa Rica

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