What is Service Learning?

Service Learning is a form of experiential education in which students engage in activities that address human and community needs, together with structured opportunities for reflection designed to achieve desired learning outcomes (Jacoby, 1996).

Service Learning is a credit-bearing educational experience in which students participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs and reflect on that service activity in such as way as to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility (Bringle & Hatcher, 1996).

Models of Service Learning

Service Learning

A service learning experience as part of a course in which the learning is weighted more heavily than the service, such as a one-time visit to an inner city school to read in Spanish to students as part of a Spanish Course.

Service Learning

A service learning experience, usually as part of a campus organization or event, in which the service is weighted more heavily than the learning, such as volunteering or involvement in campus service clubs.

Service Learning

A service learning experience in a course in which the service and the learning are balanced. This includes multiple service events connected to course objectives and an assessment of the learning garnered through the service experience.

Source: Furco, A. (1996). Service-learning: A balanced approach to experiential education. In Expanding Boundaries: Service and Learning. Washington, DC: Corporation for National and Community Service.

Variations Among Service Programs

Compare and contrast of community service/volunteerism to Field education/internships

Source: Jacoby, B. (1996). Service learning in today’s higher education. In B. Jacoby (Ed.), Service-Learning in Higher Education: Concepts and Practices. San-Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Service Learning Resources

What is Service Learning and Models:  Downloadable PDF

Principles of Good Practice for Service Learning: Downloadable PDF

Ideas for Types of Service Learning Courses: Downloadable PDF

Service Learning Bibliography: Downloadable PDF