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Threshold concepts and metalearning capacity

Meyer, J.H.F.; Ward, S.C.; Latreille, P.

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J.H.F. Meyer

P. Latreille


This study operationalises the empowering concept of metalearning in the specific context of engagement with a threshold concept.An experience of metalearning was constituted in two parts. First students’ awareness of themselves as learners is prompted by, and focuses on, a learning profile that is generated online through the completion of the Reflections on Learning Inventory (RoLI). Second, students are given an opportunity to interpret their respective profiles and write a short and undirected reflective account of their interpretation.The second part of the experience focuses not only on students’ awareness but also on their capacity to control their future learning on the basis of their heightened awareness. An initial metalearning experience was provided early in a microeconomics module encouraging students to reflect on their learning in the context of their prior learning of microeconomics. A second metalearning experience was provided later in the module when the RoLI response context was shifted specifically to the learning of the threshold concept in question. This metalearning experience intervention yielded matched sets of quantitative data (the RoLI responses used to generate the learning profiles) and qualitative data (the reflective accounts based on the interpretation of the learning profiles). Data analysed here emanate from a research project involving three UK universities, two of which are represented in the present study with one foregrounded in terms of a relatively large sample of c. 300 participating students. The findings indicate that a metalearning experience can be successfully constituted and encapsulated within the learning of a threshold concept for a majority of students.There is however variation in the success (or not) of the metalearning experience, the detail of which reveals much about the dynamics of changed or changing metalearning capacity in relation to the threshold concept considered.


Meyer, J., Ward, S., & Latreille, P. (2009). Threshold concepts and metalearning capacity. International Review of Economics Education, 8(1), 132-154

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2009
Deposit Date Jan 15, 2010
Publicly Available Date Jan 26, 2010
Journal International Review of Economics Education
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 1
Pages 132-154
Publisher URL


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