Our project goal was to build on previous research, both with our students and across higher education in general, in the areas of student learning, misconceptions and threshold concepts to:
- identify threshold concepts in biology and determine how they fit into current definitions
- discuss these concepts and how they are taught with practising biologists
- test student understanding of these concepts
- design interventions to improve understanding of threshold concepts
- analyse the effect of these interventions
- create biology teaching guidelines using project results
- develop a generic model for teaching threshold concepts
During Phase 1 of this project we identified potential threshold concepts in biology in collaboration with our biology reference group and through surveys and interviews of students and teachers.
During Phase 2 we designed and developed intervention resources, which were used as supplementary teaching materials in relevant undergraduate courses at the three participating universities.
During Phase 3 we analysed the effects of the interventions to determine if additional instruction in the target concept lead to an increased understanding in both the threshold and related concepts.
During Phase 4 we used our project results to create a generic model for teaching threshold concepts.