What is SOLO Taxonomy?


What is SOLO Taxonomy?

·         S O L O which stands for Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome provides a systematic way of describing how a learner’s performance grows in complexity when mastering many tasks, particularly the sort of tasks undertaken in school.
·         SOLO (structure of Observed Learning Outcomes)is a ideal of learning that supports development common understanding & language of learning that supports teachers (and understanding the learning process. students)
·         The structure of observed learning outcomes (SOLO) taxonomy is a model that describes levels of increasing complexity in student’s understanding of subjects. It was proposed by John B. Biggs and K. Collis and has since gained popularity.
·         OLO (Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes) offers an organized framework for students to use to progress their thinking and learning.  It encourages students to think about where they are currently with their learning, and what they need to do in order to progress. There are five main stages:
·         SOLO Taxonomy (structure of observed learning outcomes) convey  a simple, unswerving and durable model for three levels of understanding – surface deep and conceptual

Why is it so useful?

·             It supports students to reflect on their own thinking
·             It helps teachers to thoughtfully shape learning intentions and learning experiences.
·             It makes it easy to identify and use effective success criteria.
·             It provides feedback and feed forward with regards to learning outcomes.
·             It helps students to reflect meaningfully on what the next steps in their learning are.
·             The diagrams provide a simple and easy to remember staged approach for students, in terms of these next steps.
·         Using SOLO, students and teachers can give and discuss
·         Feedback more effectively. These conversations may be between:
• Students and students
• Students and teachers
• Teachers and teachers.

The Psychological Basis of the Four Levels

·         Biggs and Collis (1982) created their model on the idea that in any “Learning episode, both qualitative and quantitative learning outcomes are determined by a complex interaction between teaching procedures and student characteristics”. They emphasized the roles played by: the prior knowledge the student has of the content relating to the episode, the student’s motives and intentions about the learning, and the student’s learning strategies. As a consequence, the levels are ordered in terms of various characteristics: from the concrete to the abstract, an increasing number of organizing dimensions, increasing consistency, and the increasing use of organizing or relating principles/ it was developed to assess the qualitative outcome of learning in a range of school and college situations and in most subject areas; hence the title of the taxonomy: Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome.
·         There are four major ways that the four levels can increase in complexity:

                               I.            Capacity:

·         Each level of the S O L O taxonomy increases the demand on the amount of working memory or attention span. At the surface (Uni-structural and multi-structural) levels, a student need only encode the given information and may use a recall strategy to provide an answer. At the deep (relational or extended abstract) levels, a student needs to think no only about more things at once, but also how those objects inter-relate.

                           II.            Relationship:

·         Each level of S O L O refers to a way in which the question and the response interrelate. A uni-structural response involves thinking only in terms of one aspect and thus there is no relationship possible. The multi-structural level involves a many aspects but there is no attention to relationship between these aspects. At the relational level, the student needs to analyses and identify an appropriate relationship between the many ideas, and at the extended abstract level, the students’ needs to generalize to situation not experienced or beyond the given environment

                        III.            Consistency & Closure:

·         These refer to two opposing needs felt by the learners. On the one hand, the student wants to come to a conclusion and thus answer or close the question. But on the other hand, the student wants to experience consistency so that there is no contradiction between the question posed, the material given, and the answer provided. Often, when there is a greater need for closure, less information is utilized resulting in an answer or response is that is less consistent. In contrast, when a high level of need for consistency is required, a student may utilize more information when conceiving an answer, but may not be able to reach closure if external factors do not permit.
·         At the uni-structural level, the student often seizes on immediate recall information, but at the extended abstract level, the student must integrate potentially inconsistent ideas and must tolerate the possibility of inconsistency across contexts.

                         IV.            Structure:

·         The uni-structural response takes one relevant piece of information to link the question to the answer.
·         The multi-structural response takes use of an underlying conceptual structure and the extended abstract requires a generalized structure such that the student demonstrates an extension beyond the original given context.

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