Higher Education

, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 373–388 | Cite as

Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge (2): Epistemological considerations and a conceptual framework for teaching and learning

  • Jan H. F. Meyer
  • Ray LandEmail author


The present study builds on earlier work by Meyer and Land (2003) which introduced the generative notion of threshold concepts within (and across) disciplines, in the sense of transforming the internal view of subject matter or part thereof. In this earlier work such concepts were further linked to forms of knowledge that are ‘troublesome’, after the work of Perkins (1999). It was argued that these twinned sets of ideas may define critical moments of irreversible conceptual transformation in the educational experiences of learners, and their teachers. The present study aims (a) to examine the extent to which such phenomena can be located within personal understandings of discipline-specific epistemological discourses, (b) to develop more extensively notions of liminality within learning that were raised in the first paper, and (c) to propose a conceptual framework within which teachers may advance their own reflective practice.


Threshold concepts troublesome knowledge identity liminality mimicry pre-liminal variation 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Learning, Teaching and Research in Higher EducationUniversity of DurhamUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Centre for Higher Education DevelopmentCoventry UniversityUnited Kingdom

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