University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

The Practice of Thresholds: Autonomy in Clinical Education Explored Through Variation Theory and the Threshold Concepts Framework

Fredholm, A., Henningsohn, L., Savin-Baden, Maggi and Silén, C. (2019) The Practice of Thresholds: Autonomy in Clinical Education Explored Through Variation Theory and the Threshold Concepts Framework. Teaching in Higher Education, 25 (3). pp. 305-320. ISSN Print: 1356-2517 Online: 1470-1294

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This paper demonstrates a practical dimension to the discussion about threshold concepts. Threshold concepts have thus far mostly been acknowledged to elucidate learning processes mainly connected to theoretical concepts. By exploring situations that prompted experiences of autonomy and authenticity in clinical learning, findings showed how a practical experience could have the same power to transform thinking and identity as theoretical thresholds and serve as a trigger for transformational learning, therefore making the discussion about ‘practical thresholds' or thresholds in practice possible. The present study explores situations that prompted autonomy and authenticity, and offers context for and substance to these situations by adopting variation theory and the threshold concept framework. In order to learn more about situations that prompt experiences of autonomy and authenticity, and create prerequisites for such experiences, this paper examines how students discern and interpret these situations by analysing them through variation theory and the threshold concept framework.

Item Type: Article
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This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: autonomy, authenticity, threshold concepts, variation theory, clinical education, autonomy, authenticity, threshold concepts, professional development
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Education
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Copyright Info: Open access article
Depositing User: Maggi Savin-Baden
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2019 10:18
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:27

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