Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge: Linkages to ways of thinking and practising within the disciplines

J.H.F. Meyer, Ray Land

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract / Description of output

This paper arises from ongoing research undertaken by the Economics team of the ESRC/ TLRP Project 'Enhancing Teaching and Learning Environments' (ETL) 1 . This forms part of the large scale ESRC Teaching and Learning Research Programme Phase 2. ETL is seeking to identify factors leading to high quality learning environments within five disciplinary contexts across a range of HE institutions. Meyer's notion of a threshold concept was introduced into project discussions on learning outcomes as a particular basis for differentiating between core learning outcomes that represent 'seeing things in a new way' and those that do not. A threshold concept is thus seen as something distinct within what university teachers would typically describe as 'core concepts'. Furthermore, threshold concepts may represent, or lead to, what Perkins (1999) describes as 'troublesome knowledge' — knowledge that is conceptually difficult, counter-intuitive or 'alien'. The paper attempts to define characteristics of threshold concepts and, in the light of Perkins' work, to indicate correspondences between the notion of threshold concepts and that of 'troublesome knowledge.'
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationISL10 Improving Student Learning
Subtitle of host publicationTheory and Practice Ten Years On
PublisherOxford Brookes University
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)1 873576 68 2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes


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