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ERIC Number: EJ1089070
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: EISSN-1933-5954
A Thresholds Concepts Approach to the Standards Revision
Hofer, Amy R.; Brunetti, Korey; Townsend, Lori
Communications in Information Literacy, v7 n2 p108-113 2013
Thirteen years after being adopted, the Association of College and Research Libraries' (ACRL's) "Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education" are due for a retrofit. The current "Standards" do not account for the post-Google information landscape in which a blizzard of emerging technologies and unprecedented modes of information access have dramatically changed our culture. Threshold concepts are a theory of teaching and learning proposed by two British educators, Jan Meyer and Ray Land. Threshold concepts can be used for teaching information literacy and could inform the "Standards" revision as well. There are five definitional criteria that make a concept a threshold concept: (1) Transformative--cause the learner to experience a shift in perspective; (2) Integrative--bring together separate concepts (often identified as learning objectives or competencies) into a unified whole; (3) Irreversible--once grasped, cannot be un-grasped; (4) Bounded--may help define the boundaries of a particular discipline, are perhaps unique to the discipline; and (5) Troublesome--usually difficult or counterintuitive ideas that can cause students to hit a roadblock in their learning (Meyer & Land, 2003). If this learning theory sounds a bit familiar, that may be because it draws on other pedagogical models that librarians have engaged with over the years. What threshold concepts can add to the existing conversation is a focus on the transformative content that is unique to the field. A consistent finding of ongoing research to determine threshold concepts for information literacy is that while the proposed threshold concepts relate to the existing standards, they prioritize content in a way that the current "Standards" do not.
Communications in Information Literacy. Director, University of Oklahoma-Tulsa Library, Schusterman Center, 4502 East 41st Street, Tulsa, OK 74135. Tel: 918-660-3222; Fax: 918-660-3215; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A