Skip to main content

Centre for Teaching Development and Innovation (ZIEL)

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL)

Do you enjoy investigating your teaching scientifically? Are you interested in how students learn on your course and how your teaching interventions and innovations affect their learning? Do you want to discuss and publish the results with your colleagues?


Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) is the study of one's own academic teaching activity, i.e. research on (one's own) teaching and student learning. Originally developed in the Anglo-American higher education system and established there since 2004, the founding year of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL), SoTL has also arrived in European educational research. In the German-speaking world, the definition of SoTL according to Huber (2014, p.21) has become established:

„Scholarship of Teaching and Learning ist die wissenschaftliche Befassung von Hochschullehrenden in den Fachwissenschaften mit der eigenen Lehre und/oder dem Lernen der Studierenden im institutionellen Umfeld durch Untersuchungen und systematische Reflexionen mit der Absicht, die Erkenntnisse und Ergebnisse der interessierten Öffentlichkeit bekannt und damit dem Erfahrungsaustausch und der Diskussion zugänglich zu machen.“

An important component of SoTL is the publication of results with the aim of making them useful to the community. In this way, SoTL differs from the "scholarly teaching" that applies to most teaching staff (Huber, 2014).  SoTL involves reflecting on one's own practice, searching for resources to improve one's teaching, implementing these improvements, evaluating the results and sharing this knowledge with others.



  • SoTL promotes evidence-based, scientific teaching at the university.
  • Through SoTL activities, teachers engage intensively with disciplinary educational research and gain a professionalisation of their own understanding and action in teaching as well as a deeper insight into their own disciplinary culture.
  • SoTL provides a framework for publishing the findings from one's own teaching practice, so that the quality of teaching and learning can be analysed together with other teachers at a scientific level.
  • SoTL enriches interdisciplinary university didactics through subject-related studies of teaching, so that it can accompany the structural development of good teaching and contribute to curriculum development.


Procedure and research topics:

Following Huber (2011, p.120), SoTL involves the following procedure:

  • Questioning: The teacher develops questions about their own subject-specific teaching and student learning, including formulating problems or hypotheses for investigation.
  • Gathering and exploring evidence: The teacher conducts observations and interviews and collects and analyses data.
  • Trying out and refining new insights: The teacher conducts additional experiments / interventions, if necessary, and evaluates them.
  • Going public: The teacher documents and publishes the results, experiences and reflections.
  • Sharing knowledge: The teacher exchanges the findings with other teachers.

The topics of the study are broadly defined at SoTL and include, for example, innovative teaching-learning formats, feedback and evaluations, innovative testing, module design and study programme development. The focus should always be on student competence acquisition and student learning.


h-brs_campus_sankt_augustin_teasercut_k.png (DE)

If you are interested in SoTL and would like to get involved or share your SoTL activities, there are several ways to do so:

1. SoTL contributions

On the following website you will find a selection of SoTL contributions (papers and conferences) published at the H-BRS, to get inspired for future projects or to get in contact with the authors:

2. SoTL Working Group

The SoTL working group was newly founded in 2022 and is happy to welcome more members. At least two meetings per year are planned. If you are interested in participating, please visit our website:

3. SoTL-Ressourcen

  • Inhouse Workshops:
  1. SoTL workshop: For an introduction to SoTL and to connect with others interested in SoTL, you have the opportunity to participate in regular half-day SoTL workshops.
  2. Decoding the Disciplines Workshop: If you want to start a concrete SoTL project, the "Decoding the Disciplines" workshop offers a very good starting point for a SoTL process, based on an observed "hurdle" in a course.
  3. Other workshops on higher education didactics: Use suggestions and input from our other workshops to integrate a teaching intervention or innovation into your teaching and accompany it with research.
  4. Current dates for all workshops can be found here.
  • Publication opportunities: We would also like to support you in choosing a possible publication venue for your SoTL projects and will gladly provide you with a list of information on selected journals & conferences upon request. Just send an email to Leona Brust to get the current version of the list.
  • List of journals and conferences: In addition, Kennesaw Sate University's site has a comprehensive directory of journals as well as conferences in higher education, with the ability to search by discipline and topic.

More SoTL activities are planned. Stay tuned and check back here regularly!

SoTL-network (German)

If you are inspired by SoTL, take a look at the website of the German-speaking SoTL Network. The network was founded at the DGHD conference in 2017, and is aimed at all those who are interested in, or already working with SoTL.

Sources and further literature

Boyer, E. L. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. Princeton University Press, 3175 Princeton Pike, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648.

Huber, L. (2011). Forschen über (eigenes) Lehren und studentisches Lernen-Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL).: Ein Thema auch hierzulande?. Das Hochschulwesen, 59(4), S. 118-124.

Huber, L. (2014). Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Konzept, Geschichte, Formen, Entwicklungsaufgaben. In: Huber, L.; Pilniok, A.; Sethe, R.; Szczyrba, B.; Vogel, M. (Hrsg.): Forschendes Lehren im eigenen Fach. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Beispielen. Bielefeld: Bertelsmann 2014, S. 19-36. - (Blickpunkt Hochschuldidaktik; 125) URL:

Kreber, C. & Cranton, P. A. (2000). Exploring the scholarship of teaching. The journal of higher education, 71(4), 476-495. DOI: 1080/00221546.2000.11778846

McKinney, K. (2006). Attitudinal and structural factors contributing to challenges in the work of the scholarship of teaching and learning. New Directions for Institutional Research, 2006: 37-50. doi:1002/ir.170

Szczyrba, B. & Reisas, S. (2021). SoTL – Scholarship of Teaching und Learning: Wie der Ansatz zu forschendem Lehren in Deutschland an Boden gewinnt und was er beinhaltet. DUZ Magazin. 12/2021


If you want to know more about the definition and classification of SoTL, here are two very good video resources:

  1. Key Characteristics of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning”, Centre for Engaged Learning an der Elon University, Duration: 12:56 minutes
  2.  “Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) – Grundlagen”, Prof. Dr. Christian Decker, Duration: 3:06 minutes


portraet_leona_brust_2021_foto_privat.jpg (DE)

Leona Brust

Research Associate


Sankt Augustin




Grantham-Allee 20

53757, Sankt Augustin


+49 2241 865 9922