How can students in vocational education be motivated to learn mathematics?


  • Karolina Muhrman Linköping University



vocational education, mathematics education, motivation, self-determination theory (SDT), subject integration


The aim of this article is to discuss how mathematics teaching with a closer connection to students’ vocational orientation can increase their motivation to learn mathematics. This article uses a motivation theory called self-determination theory to analyse interviews and observations made in two different studies investigating mathematics in vocational education. The results indicate that there are many vocational students who are unmotivated to learn mathematics because they do not see any relevance in the subject. However, there seem to be positive aspects regarding vocational students’ motivation to learn mathematics when they are given the opportunity to work with vocational-integrated mathematics tasks, especially in a vocationally authentic environment. In relation to self-determination theory, it is possible to see increased motivation linked to a sense of meaningfulness, competence and self-determination, as well as increased social collaboration. However, teachers need to be observant of students’ goals for their studies, so that even those who do not see a future in the vocation they are training for will find motivating factors for their learning in mathematics.


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How to Cite

Muhrman, K. (2022). How can students in vocational education be motivated to learn mathematics?. Nordic Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 12(3), 47–70.



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