Threshold Concepts and Conceptual Change Processes

Shaily Bhola, Gale Parchoma


This paper reviews the idea of threshold concepts in the context of conceptual change processes students experience at the cognitive and social dimensions of learning.  Literature suggests the role of students’ ontological views in the development of their prior conceptions, which could be alternative to scientifically accepted ideas.  It is proposed that students may be able to negotiate such troublesome concepts in a productive way as they engage in the meaning-making process with peers.  Moreover, the social negotiation of knowledge can influence the conceptual change processes students experience in a discipline.  This paper will serve as a theoretical benchmark towards designing a study that will focus on exploring how peer to peer collaboration supports the understanding of chemistry threshold concepts. 



threshold concepts; conceptual change; collaborative learning

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