WR3 Learning Barriers:
Perceived and Actual


Objective -  By the end of the lesson given instructions and Web sites, scholars will:


Assignment Description

As vocational educator of adult learners our greatest challenge may be facilitating our students in resolving barriers to their education.  Adult learners have many responsibilities and commitments as well as problems that can interfere with the educational process.  These very real obstacles require us to have resources on hand for implementation or referral.  However, the most challenging are often perceived barriers.  It much easier to help a student locate a car pool or health clinic for low incomes than to fight test-anxiety or fear of failure.  Perceived barriers require us to have a different skill-set and toolbox of resources to ensure student success. 

Distance learning is becoming more popular annually as activities of daily living become more demanding and the cost of education increases.  Unfortunately students and instructors are not always prepared for the change in venue.  They do not realize traditional courses can not simply be transplanted successfully.  They fail to realize that distance learning not only requires more commitment, self-motivation, organization, and diligence but may be more time consuming.  Too many students and instructors select distance learning because it is perceived as "the easy way out" and as such have unrealistic expectations.  This results in disillusionment which can be insurmountable.

Access and read "Barriers to Learning in Distance Education" from The Infrastruction Network and "Widening Adult Participation:  Overcoming the barriers to engaging adult learners" from Skills and Education Network   Take the "What is Your Motivation Style" test provided by AgelessLearner.com   Then write a report following the memo format described in the first assignment.  The report will be e-mailed to the class-at-large using the distribution list provided by the instructor.  Reports should include all the following elements.

Drawing upon your experience as both an educator and a student, select examples of both real and perceived barriers you have encounter throughout your educational career.  Describe the impact these barriers had upon the learner, yourself or your student.  Discuss possible strategies for overcoming specific barriers.  Feel free to think outside the box.

Explore the dichotomy between real and perceived barriers.  Is one barrier more or less valid?   Which type of barrier is more difficult to address?  I one more or less damaging to the educational process than the other? 

Compare and contrast barriers to traditional and distance learning formats.  Remember compare the similarities and contrast the differences.  Draw on your own experiences as a student and educator.  Offer suggested strategies for overcoming distance learning barriers.  Remember to be specific.

Finally, discuss whether or not you feel better prepared to assist your students in overcoming real and/or perceived barriers.  Site the article and specific theory.  Explain how you would apply the concept and the expected outcome.

Remember, developing good writing skills as an educator is essential.  Do not summarize the reports, just reference them as you discuss your conclusions.  Be specific but succinct.  Your report should be 1 to 1 1/2 pages only. 

To earn an "A" on the assignment you must participate in the on-line class discussion via e-mail.  Use the distribution list provided by the instructor to send your report to the class-at-large.  Reports are due on the date indicated in the syllabus.  The discussion will take place in the week following the due date before the next assignment is due.  Think of this like a traditional in-class discussion except you are writing your comments and questions instead of speaking them.  You will read more than you will reply.  When you wish to comment or ask a question use the "reply to all" feature of your mail manager to send your message to the class-at-large.  The instructor will participate actively, and her comments will provide examples of what is expected of you.


Grading Criteria

This assignment is worth 10% of your grade. 

Reports meeting the following criteria will receive 9 points.

Participation in the on-line discussion via e-mail 1 point

Extra Credit

Include a page at the end of your report with 5 community resources you can make available to your students for gifted students, English learners and special needs students.  Site the barrier then identify the resource. (1 point)


Blank, W., & Hernandez-Gantes, V.M. (2009).  Teaching English language learners in career and technical education programs.  New York, NY:  Routledge

Galusha, J.M. (1997-2008).  Barriers to learning in distance education.  The Infrastructure Network.  University of Southern Mississippi.  http://www.infrastruction.com/barriers.htm

Smith, M.K.  (1998).  Participation in learning projects and programmes. infed.  YMCA George Williams College. Retrieved January 3, 2012 from http://www.infed.org/biblio/b-partln.htm

Conner, M.L.  (1993-2008).  What's your motivation style.  The Ageless Learner.  http://www.agelesslearner.com/assess/motivationstyle.html