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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Enhancing Teaching-Learning Environments in Undergraduate Courses

Grant reference: L139251099

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Occasional paper details

TLRP: Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge: Linkages to Ways of Thinking and Practising within the Disciplines. ETL Project Occasional Report, No. 4.
This report arises from ongoing research undertaken by the Economics team of the Economic and Social Research Council’s Teaching and Learning Research Programme Project ‘Enhancing Teaching and Learning Environments in Undergraduate Courses’ (ETL) . The Project forms part of Phase II of the Programme. The ETL Project is seeking to identify factors leading to high quality learning environments within five disciplinary contexts across a range of higher education 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’. Drawing both on project interviews and on observations contributed by academic colleagues from a range of disciplines, the report 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 Document

Primary contributor

Author J H F Meyer

Additional details