Key Components

Service-learning combines experiential learning and community service opportunities.

It can be distinguished in the following ways:

Curricular connections- Integrating learning into a service project is key to successful service learning. Academic ties should be clear and build upon existing disciplinary skills.

Student voice - Beyond being actively engaged in the project itself, students have the opportunity to select, design, implement, and evaluate their service activity, encouraging relevancy and sustained interest. In community settings, this is alternatively called youth voice.

Reflection - Structured opportunities are created to think, talk, and write about the service experience. The balance of reflection and action allows a student to be constantly aware of the impact of their work.

Community partnerships - Partnerships with community agencies are used to identify genuine needs, provide mentorship, and contribute assets towards completing a project. In a successful partnership, both sides will give to and benefit from the project. In order for this partnership to be successful, clear guides must be implemented as to how often a student engages in service to a particular community agency.

Authentic community needs – Local community members or service recipients are involved in determining the significance and depth of the service activities involved.

Assessment - Well structured assessment instruments with constructive feedback through reflection provide valuable information regarding the positive 'reciprocal learning' and serving outcomes for sustainability and replication.