For some people, education has a negative connotation. A bad experience in formal education can lead them to observe learning through a negative lens. Adult participation in learning beyond formal education can be obstructed by three types of barriers:
- Situational barriers arise from the circumstances of a person’s life. Due to work or family-related obligations, people may feel too busy to make time for learning. Other situational barriers include financial difficulties, lack of transportation to and from the place of learning, and health-related issues.
- Institutional barriers are the practices of institutions that supply educational opportunities that can create barriers to learning. Examples include tuition fees, rigid scheduling, location, requirements for specific qualifications of the learner to participate. The offering of learning opportunities may also be viewed as undesirable.
- Dispositional barriers are those related to the attitude of the learner toward learning. People may feel they are too old, not smart enough, don’t fit in with the group, etc.
Identifying such barriers makes it easier to overcome them. Supporting lifelong learning requires significant resources and policy coordination across a range of players. Educational institutions such as universities have found it challenging to adapt to the needs of lifelong learners. Overall, there is still a long way to go before lifelong learning becomes embedded in educational systems.