A cognitive approach to threshold concepts

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    26 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper asks a fundamental question: what is happening inside the mind of
    the undergraduate during teaching and learning experiences, and how should curricula be designed to support it? A number of concepts lend themselves to providing an answer, principle among which is the relatively recent idea of Threshold Concepts. In this paper we attempt to critically evaluate both the ‘product’ and ‘process’ of Threshold Concepts an subject the idea to a stress test by comparing it to the longer established Schema Theory of Learning. This mapping enabled a novel empirical study involving undergraduate civil
    engineering students to be performed. The methods derived from Schema Theories of learning provide a set of findings that compliment and strengthen certain key areas of Threshold Concepts, as well as leading to the development of some interesting principles of curriculum design.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)247-263
    Number of pages16
    JournalHigher Education
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Jun 2013


    • Threshold concepts
    • Schema theory
    • Curriculum design


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