A threshold concepts focus to curriculum design: supporting student learning through application of variation theory

Akerlind, Gerlese, McKenzie, Jo, & Lupton, Mandy (2011) A threshold concepts focus to curriculum design: supporting student learning through application of variation theory. Office for Learning and Teaching, Sydney.

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Abstract

This project develops and evaluates a model of curriculum design that aims to assist student learning of foundational disciplinary ‘Threshold Concepts’. The project uses phenomenographic action research, cross-institutional peer collaboration and the Variation Theory of Learning to develop and trial the model. Two contrasting disciplines (Physics and Law) and four institutions (two research-intensive and two universities of technology) were involved in the project, to ensure broad applicability of the model across different disciplines and contexts. The Threshold Concepts that were selected for curriculum design attention were measurement uncertainty in Physics and legal reasoning in Law.

Threshold Concepts are key disciplinary concepts that are inherently troublesome, transformative and integrative in nature. Once understood, such concepts transform students’ views of the discipline because they enable students to coherently integrate what were previously seen as unrelated aspects of the subject, providing new ways of thinking about it (Meyer & Land 2003, 2005, 2006; Land et al. 2008). However, the integrative and transformative nature of such threshold concepts make them inherently difficult for students to learn, with resulting misunderstandings of concepts being prevalent...

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ID Code: 69603
Item Type: Report
Refereed: No
Keywords: HERN
ISBN: 9780642781789
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2011 The Author(s)
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Deposited On: 02 Apr 2014 02:19
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2014 02:19

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