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Using Experiential Learning as Service-Learning

Research Thoughts

What do the students really learn about Service-Learning Projects since most of the research is academician-based?

  • Do students actually learn anything about the nature of social problems and of strategies for fundamental social change?
    • Students should develop a "sociological imagination." (the ability to see patterns, structures, and/or social context).
    • Without appropriate training, orientation, and reflection, there can be ineffective and harmful kinds of service.
  • Should community leaders and residents have a voice about what is learned?
  • Should the perspectives of all of the stakeholders be incorporated?
    • There are six sets of primary stakeholders:
      • Students
      • Faculty
      • Educational institutions
      • Service-Learning Project recipients
      • Community agencies
      • Communities
    • Need data beyond input measures like tasks done or hours served.
    • What are some ways to improve Service-Learning Projects?
  • What about developing case studies?
    • Effective programs can be used as models for planning and evaluation.
    • Ineffective programs can help identify critical factors for success.

Service-Learning Project Checklist

Principles and Practices

  • Responsible and challenging work for the common good.
  • Clear goals and objectives.
  • Critical reflection on activities
  • Interdisciplinary approach.
  • Identification of clear responsibilities of all partners, careful matching of providers and needs, sustained organizational commitment, providing training, supervision monitoring, support recognition and evaluation of programs, flexible and appropriate time commitments, and participation with diverse populations.

Center for Teaching Excellence

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