From Researching Virtual Initiatives in Education
In Re.ViCa, the concept of liminality is beginning to be used when analysing countries' readiness for e-learning. It refers to the extent to which the country (or region) "lives in two worlds".
More general meanings
Liminality comes from the Latin limen - meaning a threshold. In social sciences it is used to signify a transition between two patterns of existence, such as a rite of passage - simple examples are the ceremony of marriage in most cultures, or the coming of age ceremony in many cultures (at 16, 18, 21 - whatever).
Some kinds of liminality are very short in duration - such as a kiss under the mistletoe (though the effects may last for a lifetime...); some a bit longer, like a shamanic or hypnotic trance; some longer still, like a marriage ceremony (which may last for some days in some cultures) and others several months - like a pilgrimage or exploration - or sailing voyage round the world. The modern western concept of "time out" in fact refers to liminality - and as such it can be optional, such as time out in a pop festival. It is perhaps no accident that one of the most famous pop festivals in the UK - Glastonbury - is also a place of pilgrimage and mystical experiences over many centuries.
Leading on to the next section, the period of liminality may last much of a lifetime. Indeed, individuals with this ability may in many traditions be blessed with particular knowledge and power - from shamans to e-learning specialists. As noted in the Lord of the Rings, but drawing upon ancient Norse tradition:
Meanings in regional development, including for e-learning
In our analysis, we think more of the worlds being political, educational, cultural or regulatory, rather than mystical. Some examples:
There is another and somewhat older strand of liminality within universities. This can refer to transitions between levels of understanding, languages (as in Welsh universities dealing with bilingual issues), types of student (national and foreign-born) and conceptions of space (physical and virtual). This work is particularly associated with the name of Maggi Savin-Baden (see Further reading).
Unusually the Wikipedia article on liminality is much challenged.