Introducing Threshold Concepts 

(Video; 24 April 2010)

This and its associated pages were originally written to support the Study Days on "Threshold Concepts" which were part of the University of Bedfordshire's PGCE/Cert Ed (Post-Compulsory Education) programme in 2007-2008 (and continue to be so at the time of writing). They have been minimally edited to make sense as stand-alone pages.

"A threshold concept can be considered as akin to a portal, opening up a new and previously inaccessible way of thinking about something. It represents a transformed way of understanding, or interpreting, or viewing something without which the learner cannot progress."

(Meyer and Land, 2006:3)

These five videos were shot at the Study Day on 24 April 2010: the presentation was a continuous event, punctuated by a half-hour exercise. The first three videos follow each other before the exercise; the final two concern the plenary discussion which followed...

Introducing Theshold Concepts 1 from James Atherton on Vimeo.

This section explores how failure to get critical ("threshold") parts of the curriculum can jeopardise understanding of the whole, with reference to the ideas of photosynthesis and electrical circuits. (Draws on Sadler, 1994)

Introducing Threshold Concepts part 2

The third part of the presentation offers a slightly more systematic account of the characteristics and properties of Threshold Concepts as discussed by Meyer and Land.

Introducing Threshold Concepts part 3

Following the formal presentations, students were asked to meet informally during a half-hour break to identify threshold concepts in their disciplines and areas of practice. This is the first half of the ensuing plenary discussion.

Introducing Threshold Concepts part 4

The final part of the plenary discussion:

Introducing Threshold Concepts part 5


External links

To reference this page copy and paste the text below:

Atherton J S (2013) Doceo; [On-line: UK] retrieved from

Original material by James Atherton: last up-dated overall 10 February 2013

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