students talking in canteen with animated background illustrations

What is STLR?

STLR (Student Transformative Learning Record - pronounced ‘Stellar’) is an exciting new learning initiative which allows students to gain formal recognition for learning experiences gained inside and outside the classroom. Some examples include: customised CAs, campus events, part-time working and/or volunteering. 

STLR logo

Why is STLR beneficial for students?

Employers today need employees with well-developed ‘soft’ skills. Some examples include: ‘Coachability’- the ability to take feedback and act on it; the ability to work effectively in multi-cultural teams; the ability to be a ‘self-starter’ – control your own learning to be able solve complex problems. Current academic scripts do not highlight or acknowledge any achievements in these areas even though they are the very skills that employers are seeking! STLR provides YOU with opportunities to sharpen these skills and provides an official transcript verifying their achievement which YOU can show to prospective employers thus differentiating yourself from other candidates. 


What fundamental idea underpins the STLR concept?

At the heart of STLR is the notion of Transformative Learning (TL). Put simply, transformative learning requires reflection (or thinking) about experiences you may have had and/or as part of completion of customised CAs designed to encourage you to reflect. An example might be you reflecting on a situation where a student is regularly late for
meetings to complete team CAs with fellow students. Reflecting on this you might realise that this is causing annoyance in the team. This in turn results in a break-down of trust. You then realise that teams cannot work effectively if the members do not trust each other. You then start to think about what actions you (and/or other students) need to take to ensure trust is maintained. This ‘cycle’ of thinking deeply about issues and/or experiences and then deciding on/executing some action(s) which may lead to permanent behaviour change is key to transformative learning.

What is transformative learning?

Develops beyond-disciplinary skills (often referred to as soft skills) and expands student's perspectives of their relationships with self, others, community and environment. Students reflect on their experiences and then receive feedback from a trained staff member. It will place students at the centre of their own active and reflective learning experiences.

The STLR model has five ‘competencies’ to help develop these soft skills:

  • Civic Knowledge, Skills & Experience
       Effectively achieving a civic aim
  • Global Culture Competence 
       Being able to handle human differences
  • Health & Wellbeing Development
       Being resilient and looking out for others so that, for example, stress levels are managed
  • Research & Innovation Competence Building
       Being able to research, think critically and problem solve effectively
  • Teamwork & Leadership
       Being able to influence others effectively 

How can I start gaining STLR recognition?

  • Lecturer Supplied Customised CA's
  • Participating in on-campus events (e.g. Pathways, Peer Mentoring etc) 
  • Student Initiated (e.g. based on work experience or volunteering)

STLR Recognition is trackable online 

Is it possible to have different ‘levels’ of Transformative Learning?

Yes. The model recognises three:

  • Exposure – student was exposed to a new concept e.g. by attending a talk
  • Integration – student reflects and has a changed worldview and begins to integrate it to other situations
  • Transformation – student is evidencing changed behaviour and a complete transformation

STLR at TU Dublin

Our STLR journey started in Spring 2018 when the Blanchardstown School of Business learnt of an exceptional method (STLR) of assessing and tracking students skills beyond their discipline. These beyond discipline skills can be:

  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Acting as responsible citizens
  • Critical thinkers.

Representatives from the school of business learnt all about STLR from their UCO colleagues and since May 2018 have developed and are implementing a project plan to roll out the initiative on a pilot basis. Stakeholders were involved during the planning and development phase: staff, students and industry. 

How are transformative learning achievements recorded?

A trained staff member will assess all achievements. These achievements are populated into their TU Dublin student’s record (STLR) and can be stored in ePortfolios so that students can share with potential employers and graduate schools to highlight their most employable strengths.

Our pilot is currently ongoing and it has been very welcomed among our stakeholders. STLR events and opportunities are happening on and off the campus and within modules.  

How can you learn more?


  • Short listed for the The Education Awards 2020 in the Career Impact Strategy Category
  • Winners in Best Public Service Category at Fingal Business Awards 2019
Education Awards 2020 Logo Fingal Awards 2019