Service-Learning is a Flexible Pedagogy

Initial Publication Date: November 30, 2010

Service-learning can be incorporated into any classroom setting. Faculty interested in adopting service-learning have a wide variety of choices in terms of both the service experience and learning outcomes.

It can be used in a variety of classroom settings:

  • Service-learning can be incorporated in seminars, lecture-based classes, classes with labs or tutorials
  • Service-learning can be incorporated in classes of 30 or fewer students or in classes with as many as 100 students
The service experience can take a wide variety of service formats:
  • Service experiences vary along a continuum from a limited single service experience to a service experience that is the basis for an entire class
  • Service activity can take place at a single community site, at multiple community sites, or in the classroom
  • Students can serve individually, in groups, or as an entire class
Student learning can be demonstrated in a wide variety of learning outcomes:
  • exams
  • reflective essays, journals, or research papers
  • oral presentations to interested community members
  • outcomes of community based research

In addition, (Ziegert and McGoldrick, 2008) suggest service-learning can be adopted incrementally over time. For example, in one semester faculty might have students research community agencies that deal with topics discussed in the classroom as a way to identify future potential community partners. In subsequent semesters students might identify potential projects that could potentially benefit these agencies. And finally in a subsequent semester a service-learning experience could be fulling integrated into a course.