Motivation Of Students With Disabilities In The System Of Inclusive Higher Education


The article demonstrates a problem of forming motivation to learning activities among disabled students at higher education institutions as the main means, which makes it possible to increase the level of student’s interest in the educational process and learning in general. The role of higher education institution in ensuring the integration of a young person into the society is highlighted. It will ensure that a student obtains personal and financial independence by getting a vocational education. A brief description of existing research on the motivation of disabled students to obtain higher education is given. The factors affecting the motivation of students with health limitations to get higher education are given. The learning and professional motives of such students (cognitive, social and practical) are described in detail. The demotivators of their learning (personal, social, organizational, interpersonal, financial and career choices) are indicated. It is concluded that the whole structure of motivation and professional and learning motives of ordinary students and disabled students coincide, but the special living conditions form the factors, that impede the development of educational programs and require additional measures to encourage the learning activity of disabled students. The incentives to increase the motivation of disabled students are given in the article.

Keywords: Motivesmotivatorsmotivation theory,motivation of learning activitiesinclusive higher educationdisabilities


Currently, one of the main directions of the Russian state policy in the field of education is the creation of a universal barrier-free environment and barrier-free education, which makes it possible to ensure the full inclusion of disabled children and young people into the society. At the present stage, inclusion is aimed at adapting learning and social environment to the student's opportunities, as well as creating equal opportunities for people with some features of psychophysical development in all layers of society (Fuflygina, 2017).

The motivation of students' learning activity is widely covered in the scientific literature, while the problems of motivating learning activities of disabled students in higher education institutions are only beginning to be understood by scholars and practitioners in the context of inclusive education development in our country. It is also necessary to take into account the fact that it is being developed in conditions of high dynamics of changes occurring in the modern system of higher education. At present, the changing education system is characterized by modernization processes in all its structural components, including federal educational standards, educational programs, principles of interaction between participants in the educational process, principles of organization of the educational environment, etc. (Fuflygina, 2017). These changes can also be applied to inclusive education at the university.

Problem Statement

One of the most important functions of inclusive higher education is to encourage interest in learning people with health limitations (PHL) in such a way that their learning will bring the desired effects and benefits to them and to the society, will ensure their integration into society, will allow them to obtain personal and financial independence.

In order for a student with health limitations to become really involved in the educational environment, the tasks set for him/her in the course of the training activities must be understood and accepted internally, so they should acquire some significance for the student. High positive motivation can compensate for the lack of abilities or an insufficient amount of knowledge and skills, can be a compensatory factor. However, no matter how capable and intelligent a student is, he/she will not achieve success without a desire and an impulse to learn. Motivation is the main means which gives an opportunity to increase the level of student’s interest in the educational process and learning in general, becomes one of the leading factors for successful learning.  The motivation of students with health limitations learning activities is understood as the total amount of external and internal driving forces that motivate learners to pursue learning activities aiming to achieve learning goals. The awareness of the high importance of motivation in educational activities determines the need for a study of educational and professional motivation of students.

Research Questions

Due to the lack of knowledge of the problems associated with the disabled students’ education at the university, the following research questions should be solved:

1. To identify the factors affecting the disabled students’ motivation for learning in institutions of higher education educational establishments.

2. To characterize educational and professional motives of disabled students.

3. To validate the use of incentives to increase the motivation of disabled students in their learning.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to develop an understanding of the motives and motivation of disabled students for thorough studying and provisions for using incentives to increase motivation in their learning.

Research Methods

Principles and methods of research

Among the most relevant principles applied in this research, the principle of objectivity is a leading one. The research is aimed at finding the objective factors, relationships, dependencies and comparing them with the practical data in the field of disabled students’ motivation. The principle of relevance, which is also important for achieving the goal of the study, has required the construction of work on the achieved theoretical knowledge. The reliance on the facts that are prominent and verified is also important. This is proven by the sources in the list of references used.

The choice of research methods was influenced by the rate of problems research done in the field of motivation and encouragement of teaching high school students in modern conditions, as well as the characteristics of the object being studied –students with health limitations.

The paper takes advantage of formal logical research methods: generalization and classification, specification, comparison and analogue, the secondary research of documents. These methods were used simultaneously and each of them made it possible to reveal new sides of the studied object.

Thus, the basis of the secondary research was the works of Russian and foreign authors, which allowed to compare the results of several studies of student motivation, conducted at different bases - ordinary students and disabled students.

A brief overview of approaches to the research of the motivation of educational activities of university students

Much attention of the scientists in Russia and abroad is paid to the study of various aspects of human motivation, including the learning motivation.

Thus, the possibilities of practical application of existing procedural theories of motivation in the process of teaching students have been explored: the theory of expectations of V. Vrum, the theory of justice by J. Stacey Adams and the extended Porter-Lawler model (Bogdanov, 2013).

There are also developments using the hierarchical theory of self-determination and the theory of achievable goal orientations that focus on different aspects of learning motivation when analyzing students’ motivation. The focus of the theory of achievable goal orientations is studying the aims of students' participation in educational activities while the hierarchical theory of self-determination performs the analysis of the reasons for involvement in the educational process (Maloshonok, Semenova, & Terentyev, 2015).

We can distinguish the study aimed at revealing the individual characteristics of disabled students, their motivational characteristics of studies as well as the level of safety of higher mental functions in stressful conditions associated with entering the university and changing the social environment. The research was done to predict the behavior which might be expected from a disabled student in the first year of study at a higher education institution, to evaluate the potential of each disabled person admitted to higher education institution, to predefine the amount of correction work with him/her and the need for it in advance (Robustova & Baglyuk, 2017).


Features affecting the formation of motivation for the qualitative mastering of the educational program by disabled students

Based on sources reviewed, the following factors influencing the formation of the motivation for through learning of educational programs in this category of students were highlighted:

Difficulties with the employment of disabled graduates are defined as risks that reduce motivation to learn. According to the Federal State Statistics Service for 2015, only half of the disabled students admitted to universities, cope with educational programs and graduate. In addition, the share of graduates working according to their major is low. This means that the professional market for such a group is limited (Rasskazov & Muller 2017).

Classification of demotivators of teaching students with health limitations

One can identify a number of factors that have a negative impact on a student with health limitations learning attitude, which are called demotivators:

Characteristics of educational and professional motives of students with health limitations

The activity of students in high school can reasonably be called educational and professional. This means that professional motives are not just embedded in the structure of motivation to study, but are integrated with learning motives, thus forming learning and professional motivation.

The content of educational and professional motives of students is given in (Mitrofanova, 2018) (Table 01 ).

Table 1 -
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The main features of the motivational formation of a student are: the formation of a professional dominant for a student, the formation of an image of a profession, the understanding of oneself as a subject of professional activity. One of the most important sources of professional direction is the student’s perception of the special features of the chosen profession; professional direction is a set of such professional motives as a multidimensional, heterogeneous, long-formed education (Lazarev, 2016).

Due to a number of specific features (health status, special educational needs associated with it), students with health limitations are characterized by special educational and professional motivation, which makes it relevant to develop an appropriate system of incentives that should be laid down in almost all areas of educational activities of the university in the field of inclusive higher education: educational, educational, socio-psychological, material, psychological and pedagogical support.

Let us give examples of stimulating educational activities of students with health limitations in accordance with the main groups of educational and professional motives (Mitrofanova, 2018).

1. Cognitive motives:

1.1. Considering the wide cognitive motives, the following stimulating measures are recommended:

1.2. Educational and cognitive motives - stimulating measures:

1.3. Motives for self-education - encouraging measures:

2. Social motives:

2.1. Broad social motives - stimulating measures:

2.2. Narrow social, or positional motives - encouraging measures:

2.3. Motives for social cooperation - encouraging measures:

2.4. Motives for self-actualization and personal growth - encouraging measures:

3. Pragmatic motives:

3.2. Professional value motives - encouraging measures:

3.3. Practical-pragmatic motives - encouraging measures:

3.4. The motives for achievement - encouraging measures:

3.5. Motives for avoiding failure - incentives:


Higher education institutions of Russia were involved in creating equal opportunities for young people with special psychophysical development in the field of vocational education, which requires studying the approaches and features of the existing work experience with those students.

It should be noted that research on the motivation of learning activities of students with health limitations is limited because of the recent inclusion of universities in the system of inclusive education. Such research should be based on studies of changes occurring in higher education itself, as well as existing theories of motivation and stimulation.

Due to a number of features (health status, special educational needs associated with it), students with health limitations are characterized by special educational and professional motivation. In general, the structure of motivation and educational and professional motives of ordinary students and disabled students coincide, but special health and care requirements form the factors that impede the development of educational programs and require additional measures to stimulate educational activities of students with health limitations.

These incentives are focused on the formation of positive, socially-oriented educational and professional motivation of students with disabilities. It is necessary to use adequate opportunities and needs of students of modern technologies, methods, techniques, forms of organization of the educational process of the university, as well as the adapting the content of educational material to suit a student with health limitations or development of necessary new teaching materials, etc. The cornerstone of these developments should be the motivating basis for the professional development of a human being.


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Zakharov, D., Lukyanova, T., Lobacheva, A., & Milyutina, E. (2019). Motivation Of Students With Disabilities In The System Of Inclusive Higher Education. In V. Mantulenko (Ed.), Global Challenges and Prospects of the Modern Economic Development, vol 57. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 615-623). Future Academy.