Embedding threshold concepts: The use of a practice—theory—practice cycle

Mary Hedges

Abstract


This article provides a case study report on how applying a threshold concepts framework within an integrated assessment programme can help embed these concepts and facilitate a transformative engagement among students in an MBA economics course. The explicit goal of the course is for students to formalise their prior learning and apply current business-relevant economic theory to their work practices. Many students arrive into the course in a state conceptually identified as a liminal zone, having nascent understandings of their economic environment, at least in the work context, but are troubled as to how to develop, link and apply these economic concepts.

In this MBA course, a weekly online discussion forum had two intended purposes: to develop engagement with the course content; and to explicitly enable the students to embed and apply key threshold concepts to their professional lives. Early in the course, students had to discuss specific questions relating the theoretical content to familiar experiences, thereby focussing on the practicetheory link. By the end of the course, they had to relate theoretical content to both familiar and new contexts, extending theory-practice links. This online discussion forum provided the opportunity to explore the ‘practice-theory-practice’ cycle that the students had to integrate into other assessment items.


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DOI: 10.15663/wje.v19i2.100

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© Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research, Te Kura Toi Tangata Faculty of Education, 2015