How to Address the Barriers to Learning

Updated July 20, 2017

Barriers to learning occur when a person's ability to learn is jeopardised. A person's ability to learn can be jeopardised when the characteristics that influence learning are compromised. This may involve negatively influencing a person's ability, attitude, motivation, memory, learning environment, reward and punishment or methods of instruction. Some barriers to learning may be more difficult to address than others. Addressing learning barriers requires collaboration among educators, learners and caregivers.

Identify the learning barrier. There are several types of learning barriers. The learning barrier may be internal or external. This means the barrier may be unique to the learner's personality, personal life or environment.

Identify any educators or programs that may be able to assist in removing the barrier. You may find these resources through social networking or institutional partners.

Gain commitment, collaborate and cooperate with your resources. Gaining commitment may or may not require a contract, it depends on the relationship with the resource. Resources must have the motivation to address problems. Motivation can come from obligation to a cause. Interact with your resources frequently. Be receptive to different thoughts and ideas.

Identify obtainable and measurable goals. Making goals that are difficult to obtain or measure minimises opportunities for success.

Establish evaluation time lines. Base your time line on how long it takes to accomplish a given task or change a behaviour.

Analyse successes and failures. Try to determine how, why and when the learner succeeds or fails.

Revisit, revise and renew your agreement according to your findings. Now that you know what works, create an environment conducive to successes while minimising failures.


Manage the relationships well -- you never know when you may need help in the future.


Don't isolate your learners. Balance the needs of your learners by giving each the appropriate attention to support goals.

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About the Author

Angelique Goliday began her writing career in 2007. With expertise in public policy, she specializes in areas of community action and democratic governance. Goliday holds a Ph.D. in public administration with a focus on management and leadership from Walden University.