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ACRL Framework for Information Literacy in Higher Education

Threshold Concepts

Threshold concepts are by definition:

   Transformative - these concepts, once learned, open up new ways of understanding the world and questioning of former ways of thinking. 

   Integrative- learners are able to integrate threshold concepts into other contexts and related areas. 

    Irreversible - threshold concepts, once learned, are difficult to unlearn. 

    Bounded - threshold concepts are contextual; they are learned within a particular context and often along with and in addition to other threshold concepts. 

   Troublesome - threshold concepts can be potentially troublesome to the learner.

 Source: Blackmore, M. (2010) Student engagement with information: Applying a threshold concept approach to information literacy development. Paper presented at the 3rd Biennia Threshold Concepts Symposium: Exploring transformative dimensions threshold concepts. Sydney Australia 1‐2 July, 2010.


ACRL Framework

"This Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education (Framework) grows out of a belief that information literacy as an educational reform movement will realize its potential only through a richer, more complex set of core ideas....

Students have a greater role and responsibility in creating new knowledge, in understanding the contours and the changing dynamics of the world of information, and in using information, data, and scholarship ethically. Teaching faculty have a greater responsibility in designing curricula and assignments that foster enhanced engagement with the core ideas about information and scholarship within their disciplines. Librarians have a greater responsibility in identifying core ideas within their own knowledge domain that can extend learning for students, in creating a new cohesive curriculum for information literacy, and in collaborating more extensively with faculty....

The Framework is organized into six frames, each consisting of a concept central to information literacy, a set of knowledge practices, and a set of dispositions. The six concepts that anchor the frames are presented alphabetically:

  • Authority Is Constructed and Contextual
  • Information Creation as a Process
  • Information Has Value
  • Research as Inquiry
  • Scholarship as Conversation
  • Searching as Strategic Exploration "

--"Introduction" (emphasis ours)