In the literature, some factors, such as childcare, financial support and transportation services, are classified as both situational and institutional barriers depending on the source of the problem. For example, financial support is situational when the adult learner does not have access to sufficient funds to pay for all aspects of the learning activities; and institutional when admission and registration fees are high, learners are required to pay for additional resources (e.g., computers), institutions provide no flexible means to pay for learning activities, or governments have inflexible mechanisms to provide financial support to adult learners in need. Finances can also become an attitudinal barrier when the individual learner must balance out the cost of attending learning activities against the anticipated benefits. For some learners, the benefits of participating may never be high enough to outweigh the costs.
In a 2003 publication, Judith Potter and Chris Ferguson used these four sets of barrier-related factors to identify five elements essential to the provision of a lifelong learning culture within an institution: recognition, support, flexibility, accessibility and availability. To these elements we would add relevancy and respect based on the work of Roby Kidd (1960, 1973). These seven elements are not mutually exclusive and have considerable impact on each other.