The SOLO Taxonomy (Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes) is a common language to help students express in words, or through hand signals, where they feel their learning is.
When you set out to put more learning at the hands of your students, or more project control in the hands of your team, it's vital that both learner and facilitator or teacher know where everyone's at. It's easy to get lost, unable to see the progress that's been made. Also, when the end objective of learning is still ambiguous in a rich project, we need some kind of process through which to indicate that we know we're not done learning in this domain, but we're maybe not yet sure what else remains to be learned or done.
SOLO Taxonomy is a thinking tool which stems from the early 1980s, but which has taken on significance in more student-led learning in classrooms, particularly in Australasia and the UK. We've been working with schools who are part of learning communities based around the use of the taxonomy, many of them related to consultant Pam Hook, based in New Zealand. Using the SOLO Taxonomy within complex design thinking projects has helped students take control of assessing their own progress through often ambiguous projects. It does this by asking students to develop and use rubrics through five levels of understanding: