The term 'Scholarship of teaching and learning,' otherwise known as SoTL, was popularised largely by the work of prominent teaching scholar Ernest Boyer in the 1990s.

While there is no single definition, generally the term refers to a sustained inquiry into teaching and learning approaches and outcomes.

Implied in this definition is a reciprocal relationship between the research and practice of teaching. This definition also necessarily includes an accompanying body of published SoTL research.

Scholarship in teaching

Boyer (1990) argued there are four scholarships:

  • of discovery: basic or ‘pure’ research, the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake
  • of integration: “making connections across the disciplines, placing the specialties in larger contexts, illuminating data in a revealing way, often educating non-specialists, too”  (p.18)
  • of application: applying what we know through theory as well as practice to solve complex problems
  • of teaching.

The study that underpins good teaching is understood to include not just knowledge of good principles within a discipline, but also the latest ideas about teaching and learning. Teachers are reflecting on their teaching in ways that can be shared with a wider community of educators, and, using a variety of evidence-gathering and documentation strategies, making their students’ learning more visible.

Scholars of teaching and learning:

  • treat their classrooms and programs as a source of interesting questions about learning;
  • find ways to explore and shed light on these questions;
  • use this evidence in designing and refining new activities, assignments, and assessments; and
  • share what they have found with colleagues who can comment, critique, and build on new insights
  • disseminate their findings.

Learning & teaching repository

The learning & teaching repository contains a collection of higher education learning and teaching materials flowing from projects funded by the Australian Government from 1994-2018.

Higher education journals & conferences

Victoria University and the Connected Learning team encourage educators to share their teaching and learning research and achievements with a wider community of scholars. Below is a wide range of SoTL outlets.

Other higher education learning & teaching resources

A range of other SoTL resources can be equally useful depending on your purpose. Below is a list of blogs, databanks, email lists and organisations which commonly publish SoTL material.

Higher Education Research & Development Association's (HERSA) Scholarship of Teaching & Learning (SoTL) modules

The University has purchased a site-wide licence for the HERDSA SoTL modules. Please note VU staff will need to login.

Faculty Focus

Lots of excellent practical tips can be found at the Faculty Focus blog.

The Carnegie Foundation

The Carnegie Foundation and its Resources/Academy collection is a good source of validated research by discipline scholars into curriculum design to improve learning.


JISC is a UK further education research group that has a wide range of university resources.

Advance HE (UK)

Advance HE (UK) is also a great source for teaching resources and education research. They have an amazing range of free online journals that cover many professional areas.

Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT)

Another databank of materials that are (mostly) freely available is Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT), a US based collection. MERLOT is particularly useful because you can search by ‘type’ of learning materials, such as quizzes, assessment tools, animations and so on. Many of the materials have been peer-reviewed for their usefulness, so you have a sense of whether they ‘worked’ to help student learning.


  • Murray, R 2008, The Scholarship Of Teaching And Learning In Higher Education, Maidenhead, Berkshire, England: McGraw-Hill Education. 
  • Boyer, EL 1990, Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities Of The Professoriate, n.p.: Princeton, N.J.: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
  • Lee, S 2000, 'From Minsk To Pinsk: Why A Scholarship of Teaching and Learning?', The Journal Of Scholarship Of Teaching And Learning, 1, p. 48.