Barriers to Participation in Adult Learning (2006)

This report focuses on barriers to participation in adult learning activities.

The concept of "barriers" has been an important concept addressed in the adult education literature over the past 50 years. Barriers and access to participation in adult learning activities are most often classified using concepts developed by Patricia Cross and reported in her book, Adults as learners: Increasing participation and facilitating learning (1981). But prior to that date, such authors as Cy Houle (1961), Malcolm Knowles (1970) and Roby Kidd (1960, 1973), wrote about the problems encountered by adults in attempting to access appropriate leaning opportunities.

In addition to the literature on barriers, the research team looked at two related types of reports and studies that examined: (1) the elements of a responsive educational system to support and encourage participation in lifelong learning, and (2) best practices in teaching. These two types of reports were included based on the assumption that both contributed to reducing barriers and increasing participation – one through good institutional policies and practices and the other through good pedagogical practices.

The report is one of seven State of the Field reports on adult learning in Canada. The other reports include Gender & Learning, Culture & Learning, E-Learning, Learning Communities, and Social Movements.

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APA citation
Dorothy Mackeracher, Theresa Suart and Judith Potter. Barriers to Participation in Adult Learning 2006. Web. 12 Aug. 2022 <>
Dorothy Mackeracher, Theresa Suart & Judith Potter (2006). Barriers to Participation in Adult Learning. Retrieved August 12, 2022, from
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