Scholarship of Teaching

The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) represents a growing area of academic work dedicated to promoting teaching and learning as a serious intellectual endeavour. 

When adopting new, innovative teaching practices, you may reflect about the effects of what you have done by asking the following questions: 

  • What has the impact been of the changes you have made? 
  • Have there been effects on student satisfaction? Student engagement? Student learning? 
  • Do the new learning activities serve all students equally well, or do they benefit some students more than others? 

When you ask and investigate these types of questions, you are engaging in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (or SoLT). 

A hallmark of SoTL is active learning, which requires students to engage with knowledge and to apply that knowledge, ultimately fostering deep understanding and that allows students to transfer knowledge to other contexts.  

Based upon the underlying tenets of experiential learning, SoTL encourages teachers to engage students and allow for the application of knowledge and conceptual understanding to real-world problems, case studies, or other scenarios. 

There are four basic principles underlying SoTL: 

  1. Treats teaching as a form of inquiry into student learning (Huber and Morreale, 2002), with concern for students and how students learn as pivotal to the process  
  2. Based upon “deliberate design” (Huber and Morreale, 2002; O’Brien, 2008), which focuses on the most effective design for learning and encourages engagement and interaction to achieve learning  
  3. Needs systematic implementation and evaluation to ensure optimal student learning and advancement of teaching  
  4. Accessible to all scholars within the field, for encouraging scholarly consumption of and eventual commitment to the practice of more evidence-based modes of teaching and learning as well as the production of scholarly dissemination of experience and findings. 

Therefore, SoTL is guided by an educational philosophy, values, and learning theories where educators critically examine themselves, their teaching practice, scholarly literature and students' learning to improve their teaching, enhance learning and promote further inquiry.  

SoTL involves the search for multiple forms of evidence and fosters dialogues and deliberations on multiple interpretations and perspectives of the most promising practices of teaching and learning. It also both invites the need to evaluate pedagogical practices and disseminate those evaluations and key learnings in the larger body of literature. 

What is SoTL?

This video provides a short introduction to the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and briefly explores how it can help to inform our teaching practices.
SoTL thumbnail v4


Huber, M. T. and Morreale, S. P. (2002). Disciplinary styles in the scholarship of teaching and learning: Exploring common ground. AAHE and the Carnegie Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching.  

O'Brien, M. (2008). Navigating the SoTL landscape: A compass, map and some tools for getting started. International Journal Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, 2(2), Article 15. doi: 10.20429/ijsotl.2008.020215