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ERIC Number: ED560961
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Jul
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 45
Threshold Concepts: Impacts on Teaching and Learning at Tertiary Level
Peter, Mira; Harlow, Ann
Teaching and Learning Research Initiative
This project explored teaching and learning of hard-to-learn threshold concepts in first-year English, an electrical engineering course, leadership courses, and in doctoral writing. The project was envisioned to produce disciplinary case studies that lecturers could use to reflect on and refine their curriculum and pedagogy, thereby contributing to discussion about the relationship between theory and methodology in higher education research (Shay, Ashwin, & Case, 2009). A team of seven academics investigated lecturers' awareness and emergent knowledge of threshold concepts and associated pedagogies and how such pedagogies can afford opportunities for learning. As part of this examination the lecturers also explored the role of threshold concept theory in designing curricula and sought to find the commonalities in threshold concepts and their teaching and learning across the four disciplines. The research highlights new ways of teaching threshold concepts to help students learn concepts that are fundamental to the disciplines they are studying and expand their educational experiences. Given that much of the international research in this field focuses on the identification of threshold concepts and debates their characteristics (Barradell, 2013; Flanagan, 2014; Knight, Callaghan, Baldock, & Meyer, 2013), our exploration of what happens when lecturers use threshold concept theory to re-envision their curriculum and teaching helps to address a gap within the field. By addressing an important theoretical and practical approach the project makes a considerable contribution to teaching and learning at the tertiary level in general and to each discipline in particular. [This report was written with Jonathan Scott, David McKie, Marcia Johnson, Kirstine Moffatt, and Anne McKim.]
Teaching and Learning Research Initiative. Available from: New Zealand Council for Educational Research. P.O. Box 3237, Wellington 6140 New Zealand. Tel: +64-4384-7939; Fax: +64-4384-7933; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: University of Waikato (New Zealand), Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research
Authoring Institution: Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (New Zealand)
Identifiers - Location: New Zealand