What is Service Learning?
Service Learning is a pedagogical approach that combines learning objectives with service objectives to deepen students' understanding in a specified academic discipline. Service Learning is a form of experiential education where students participate in scheduled direct service to enhance learning objectives. Unlike traditional classroom settings, students apply their skills and knowledge outside the classroom by participating in community service projects that benefit the community as a whole. The service meets an actual community need and enhances what is being taught in the classroom.
Students reflect on their experience to link their community service project with their classroom learning. Whether the reflection activities are carried out through reading, writing, doing or telling, students examine their experience and apply their knowledge in real-life situations. Service Learning enriches the learning experience, develops civic responsibility, and strengthens communities.
Service Learning Definitions
"Service Learning combines service to the community with student learning in a way that improves both the student and the community." - National Service-Learning Clearinghouse (Learn and Serve America)
"Service Learning is a form of experiential education where learning occurs through a cycle of action and reflection as students work with others through a process of applying what they are learning to community problems and, at the same time, reflecting upon their experience as they seek to achieve real objectives for the community and deeper understanding and skills for themselves." - Eyler, J., & D.E. Giles, J. (1999). Where's the Learning in Service-Learning? San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.