Structure of observed learning outcome

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Diagram giving an overview of the SOLO Taxonomy approach.

The structure of observed learning outcomes (SOLO) taxonomy is a model that describes levels of increasing complexity in student's understanding of subjects.[1] It was proposed by John B. Biggs and K. Collis[2] and has since gained popularity.[citation needed]

The model[edit]

The model consists of five levels of understanding [3][4]

  • Pre-structural – The task is not attacked appropriately; the student hasn’t really understood the point and uses too simple a way of going about it.
  • Uni-structural – The student's response only focuses on one relevant aspect.
  • Multi-structural – The student's response focuses on several relevant aspects but they are treated independently and additively. Assessment of this level is primarily quantitative.
  • Relational – The different aspects have become integrated into a coherent whole. This level is what is normally meant by an adequate understanding of some topic.
  • Extended abstract – The previous integrated whole may be conceptualised at a higher level of abstraction and generalised to a new topic or area.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ATHERTON, J. S. (2005) Learning and Teaching: SOLO taxonomy. [On-line] UK: Available: [1] Accessed: 7 June 2007
  2. ^ Biggs, J. B. and Collis, K. (1982) Evaluating the Quality of Learning: the SOLO taxonomy. New York, Academic Press
  3. ^ TEDI. Biggs’ structure of the observed learning outcome (SOLO) taxonomy. [2]
  4. ^ Biggs, J. B. (1999). Teaching for quality learning at university. Open University Press

External links[edit]