Dementia Centred

By Henriette Laidlaw

January 14th, 2016

Survey: Threshold Learning Concepts in Aged and Dementia Care Nursing

Staff from the School of Nursing at the University of Wollongong are conducting a Delphi survey regarding Threshold Learning Concepts (TLCs) in Aged and Dementia Care nursing and would appreciate your input. 
Background information:  Land and Meyer conceptualised Threshold Learning Concepts (TLCs) in their 2003 article: ‘Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge: Linkages to Ways of Thinking and Practising within the Disciplines’.  They determined a way to identify important curriculum content and approaches to learning by focusing on concepts which students find difficult to grasp or accept and which educators sometimes find difficult to teach.
Defining Threshold Learning Concepts:  “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.  As a consequence of comprehending a threshold concept there may thus be a transformed internal view of subject matter, subject landscape, or even world view” (Meyer and Land, 2003).

Key Characteristic

Transformative: Once understood, a TLC changes the way in which the student views the discipline.
Troublesome: Threshold concepts are likely to be troublesome for the student.IrreversibleGiven their transformative potential, TLCs are likely to be difficult to unlearn.  
Integrative: TLCs, once learned, are likely to bring together different aspects of the subject that previously did not appear, to the student, to be related.
Bounded: A TLC will probably delineate a particular conceptual space, serving a specific and limited purpose.  
Discursive: The crossing of a TLC will incorporate an enhanced and extended use of language.
Reconstructive: May entail a shift in learner subjectivity and such reconstitution is perhaps, more likely to be recognised initially by others, and also to take place over time.
Liminal: The crossing of the pedagogic threshold is like a ‘rite of passage’ in which a transitional or liminal space has to be traversed.
Your opinion of TLCs in Aged and Dementia Care nursing will be of interest to educators/educational researchers in terms of important curriculum content, as well as providing greater clarity regarding methodological issues related to identifying Threshold Learning Concepts.  In the survey we will ask you to identify any TLC’s regarding Aged and Dementia Care nursing you can think of; why you think they are TLCs; and how you might go about assisting students across that threshold of understanding for any TLCs identified.
Some examples of TLCs in nursing from previous studies include:  Professionalism, Empathy, Delegation, Prioritisation (Dearnley and Matthew, 2007, Clouder, 2006, Allan, Magnusson et al., 2014).

The Survey

If you are interested in contributing to this educational research project in nursing, would you please complete the survey which can be found at:
The School of Nursing at the University of Wollongong will collate all responses and send you back a summary.  We will then invite you to respond to this information and hope to reach a consensus of opinion of all expert panellists regarding: Threshold Learning Concepts in Aged and Dementia Care nursing; what they are; and how one might best go about assisting nursing students to traverse the threshold of understanding. If you participate in the survey, the research team undertake to advise you of the consensus reached at the end of the project. 
If you would like to discuss any matters regarding this project please contact:
Dr Diane Harland
Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health
University of Wollongong
Wollongong NSW 2522, AUSTRALIA


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