Discussion Question: Overcoming Barriers

We have all experienced barriers in our educational or professional settings. Although barriers can be difficult and frustrating, they push us to problem-solve and to ignite our inner creativity. For some, barriers can shut down growth and improvement, while for others, barriers can increase motivation and effort. There are many barriers that exist in the development of online courses and the integration of technology.

I recently read an article titled “Barriers to the Adoption of Online Learning Systems.” The focus of the article and research within the article is online learning systems in higher education. The overall purpose of the research was to try to determine what steps could be taken to increase the effectiveness of the online learning systems in the institutions (Guthrie, 2012).

Guthrie (2012) outlines four barriers of online learning in higher education. These barriers include the following:

  • An unwillingness of instructors to give up control of course design and methods for teaching content
  • Lack of funding and investment
  • Changes in teaching roles and expectations
  • Institutional costs are not changing as originally thought with an increase in online students

I believe collaboration and strategic planning can help organizations overcome barriers. With that said, I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences in relation to these questions:

  • What do you see as the largest barriers in implementing online learning or technology in your organization?
  • What might have to change in order for your organization to overcome these barriers?
  • How is your role affected by the barriers and how might you personally move forward?
  • Are there some barriers that cannot be overcome? If so, how might this affect your organization or your work?


Guthrie, K. M. (2012). Barriers to the adoption of online learning systems. EDUCAUSE Review, 47(4). Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/barriers-adoption-online-learning-systems


4 thoughts on “Discussion Question: Overcoming Barriers

  1. I’ve learned recently since I left the classroom that things like this take time. It won’t happen overnight. Rather you need to build a culture especially in a school. We have a grade 10 online history course where students work through all the content online (although they still have a regularly scheduled class). This is creating the foundation to move further and develop more.

    • Time is an important factor when transitioning to new technology. My concern is that too much time will pass before something new is integrated, and then that tool or skill may be outdated by the time someone begins using. It is hard to keep up with the constant changes.

  2. I agree that time will help, and it may bring changing attitudes. In my system some administrators see online coursework as pushed on them by the state and as a way to take their funding away (funding for seat time). As more students participate in these courses, it becomes the norm and hopefully the barriers are overcome.

    • Lynn,
      We definitely see that in our setting as well. We are an online school, but the local public school feels like we are “stealing” their students. 😦

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