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WIHEA Seminar: Threshold Concepts & Troublesome Knowledge

Presented by Prof Ray Land Director of The Centre for Academic Practice, Durham University Tuesday, 29 November 2016professor-ray-land.jpg

Prof Ray Land has been a higher education consultant for OECD and the European Commission, and has recently been involved in EC projects in Europe and Latin America. He is currently advisor to the Norwegian TRANSark project on architectural education and has published widely in the field of educational research, including works on educational development, learning technology and quality enhancement. He is best known for his Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge theory with Jan Meyer. A recent edited book, Threshold Concepts in Practice (Sense 2016), is the fourth in a tetralogy on this theme. His latest publications with G
eorge Gordon have been Enhancing Quality in Higher Education: International Perspectives (Routledge 2013) and Teaching Excellence Initiatives: modalities and operational factors (HEA 2015). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

The ‘threshold concepts’ approach to student learning advocates the idea that certain concepts or practices can act in the manner of a portal, through which a changed perspective opens up for the learner. The latter enters new conceptual terrain, which permits previously inaccessible ways of thinking and practising."

This session provided an outline of the thresholds approach followed by an exploration of its implications for curriculum design and academic practice both in a research-led context and in an environment where issues of learning gain and student satisfaction with their learning experience are increasingly prevalent.

Further information on the theory is available at: