About 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, Service-Learning in Higher Education, 1996).
When service learning is implemented correctly into course curriculum, the community experience becomes a “text” for the class and is as important as other required textbooks. Service learning is tied to academic course work and helps fulfill a community organization need.
- Volunteering: The practice of people working on behalf of others for a particular cause.
- Knowledge-based community service: Combines volunteer experience in the community with academic course work and structured reflection.
- Community-based research: Involves faculty, students, and community members in joint research to address community issues.
Three Types of Service
- Direct: Students go to a community site and work directly with clients at the site. Examples include tutoring or preparing taxes for veterans.
- Indirect: The service activity occurs on site, but there is no direct contact with the organization’s clients. Examples include building a playground at a youth center or preparing food at a soup kitchen.
- Nondirect: An off-site activity. Examples include developing a website or a publicity campaign for a nonprofit organization.