Connections: Using threshold concepts to inspire learning in professional practice

Presented by expert guest Dr Linda Martindale (University of Dundee, UK) and Dr Rachel Thompson (UNSW)


Connections Seminar Series


UNSW Staff can access the recording via the Connections Moodle site (self-enrolment key: unswconnections). 

Scientia Education Experience: Inspired learning through inspired teaching

This presentation introduces threshold concepts, an approach to curriculum development that focuses on difficulties in learning and how to support learners to transform their understanding. Threshold concepts have been described as the jewels in the curriculum (Meyer and Land, 2005) and this framework has been used across a wide range of academic disciplines in curriculum design and educational research. The presentation examines threshold concepts in the context of critical thinking in evidence-based practice (EBP). We will introduce threshold concepts and the principles underpinning this approach and will then present two research-based case studies focusing on critical thinking for professional practice. This will lead into a discussion of how threshold concepts can be used to inspire learning and teaching and to enhance student learning about critical thinking and EBP.


This presentation aligns with the following UNSW Communities of Practice 'Course Design and Development' More information can be found here.

About Dr Rachel Thompson & Dr Linda Martindale

Dr Rachel Thompson (left) and Dr Linda Martindale (right)

Dr Linda Martindale is Associate Dean Learning and Teaching in the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. She has over 15 years of experience in nursing education and has particular expertise related to distance and online learning. In her current role she is closely involved in curriculum development work across undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Her PhD investigated threshold concepts in research and evidence-based practice for nursing students and since then she has continued work around threshold concepts in the healthcare disciplines as well as more recently focusing on threshold concepts linked to scholarship in higher education. Click here to read more about Dr Linda Martindales university research.

Dr Rachel Thompson is the Learning & Teaching Fellow and Senior Lecturer in the Office of Medical Education, UNSW Medicine, Sydney. Rachel convenes Quality of Medical Practice (EBM and Quality & Safety in Medicine). Her research focuses on threshold concepts in learning and teaching of evidence-based medicine, numeracy in medicine and science, and blended learning. Her 2019 PhD thesis with the School of Education, UNSW is entitled: “A Vygotskian exploration of medical students’ critical thinking within threshold concept liminal spaces.” Click here to read more about Dr Rachel Thompson.


UNSW Staff who cannot attend this seminar are able to Livestream it via the Connections Moodle site (self-enrolment key: unswconnections)