About SoTL

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

What is the best way to teach our students? How can we change our strategies, pedagogies, practices to improve student outcomes? Is teaching an art or a science?

Boyer (1990) suggested that good teaching practice should be based on evidence and that as faculty and researchers it was up to us to capture and generate evidence where none was available. In his view teaching is a science and was as worthy of scholarship as any other category of scholarship (see figure 1).

Boyer, Scholarship revisited

Figure 1: Categories of Scholarship

Boyer, E. (1990). Scholarhip reconsidered: The priorities of the professoriate. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

Scholarly Teaching means that we base our teaching practice on evidence. It is a reflective process based on evidence from the literature and from practice.

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning requires a systematic look at the connections between learning theory, evidence, practices, and ultimately leading to improved learning outcomes. A major characteristic of SoTL is the sharing of knowledge gained through peer reviewed processes (e.g., publications).


Most SoTL is conducted in the classroom making the choice of research methodology sometimes difficult. However, as Boyer pointed out, systematicity is the key characteristic.

One of the more common research methodologies is Action Research. There are various models for conducting action research but one very useful model is an iterative one as shown in figure 2.

Action Research Model

Figure 2: Iterative Action Research Model