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Evidence Based Research on Service Learning Benefit

What is Service Learning?
Youth Service Day

“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 for themselves” Eyler and Giles, (1999). Key Components & Partners of Service-Learning
Service-learning is a flexible pedagogy which can be used in a variety of classroom and community settings. Students, Community Partners, and Instructors are key players in developing effective service-learning activities. Service-learning is connected to course content and is organized around clear learning goals; service-learning provides meaningful service activities which address real community needs as defined by the community; and service-learning provides students opportunities for critical reflection upon their service experiences.

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Benefits Of Service Learning

Learning Outcomes

  • Service-learning improves student academic outcomes as demonstrated through complexity of understanding, problem analysis, critical thinking, and cognitive development (Astin et al., Eyler et al., Eyler and Giles)
  • Students reported that they learned more and were motivated to work harder in a service-learning class then in traditionally taught classes (Eyler and Giles)
  • Students and faculty report that service-learning improves students’ ability to apply what they’ve learned in the “real world” (Astin et al., Eyler et al., Eyler and Giles)

Personal Outcomes

  • Students engaged in service-learning report stronger faculty-student relationships than do students not involved in service-learning (Eyler et al.)
  • Service-learning enhances student personal development such as sense of personal efficacy, personal identity, spiritual growth, and moral development (Astin et al., Eyler et al., Eyler and Giles)
  • Service-learning increases interpersonal development, the ability to work well with others, and leadership and communication skills (Astin et al., Eyler et al.)

Social Outcomes

  • Service-learning can reduce stereotypes and facilitates cultural and racial understanding (Astin et al., Eyler et al., Eyler and Giles)
  • Service-learning increases commitment to service (Astin et al., Eyler et al.)
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