Benefits of Service LearningThe benefits of service-learning reach a wide audience, including the student, faculty, university, and community.
- Participation in education-related service enhances the student’s:
- college GPA 1,2,3,4
- general knowledge 2,4
- knowledge of field or discipline 1,2
- aspirations for advanced degrees 2,5,6
- Service-learning students were more likely to agree that they performed up to their potential in a course. 2
- Students in service-learning sections report they “learned to apply principles from [the] course to new situations” and “developed a set of overall values in [the] field.”2
- Service-learning courses engage all learners. 7
- Service-learning provides authentic assessment opportunities.7
- Involvement with service-learning identifies new areas for research and publication. 8
- Service-learning experiences promote awareness of current societal issues as they relate to academic areas of interest.
- Service-learning enriches and enlivens teaching. 1,8
- Service-learning correlates positively with increasing student retention.2,6
- Service-learning provides a unique opportunity for collaboration with the surrounding community.
- Service-learning allows the university to be seen as a part of the greater community. 9
- Community organizations rated students highly for providing valuable services to the organization and for being important to organizational operations. 10,11
- Community organizations believe student volunteers can provide as vital a service as their community volunteer counterparts. 10,11
- Community organizations feel that the benefits of working with college student volunteers outweigh the costs. 10,11
- Community organizations’ most common suggestion for improvement was to expand service programs. 10
1.Markus, Howard, & King. (1993). Integrating Community Service and Classroom Instruction Enhances Learning: Results From an Experiment. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 15, (4), 410-419.
2.Astin, & Sax. (1998). How Undergraduates are Affected by Service Participation. Journal of College Student Development, 39, (3), 251-263.
3.Astin, Vogelgesang, Ikeda, & Yee. (2000). How Service Learning Affects Students. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Higher Education Research Institute.
4.Sax, L., Astin, A. (1997). The Benefits of Service: Evidence from Undergraduates. Educational Record, 38, (3-4), 25-32.
5.Astin, A., Sax, L., & Avalos, J. (1999). Long-Term Effects of Volunteerism During the Undergraduate Years. The Review of Higher Education, 22, (3), 187-202.
6.Axson, T., & Piland, W. (Summer 1999). Effects of Service Learning on Student Retention and Success. NSEE Quarterly, 15-19.
7.Otterbein College Faculty Service-Learning Resource Manual. Columbus, OH: Otterbein College. p. 13.
8.Miami-Dade Community College, Center for Community Involvement and Civic Literacy. (2001, December 5). [On-line]. http://www.mdcc.edu/servicelearning/rational.html.
9.Wolf, H. (1998). Connection College Students with Service: A Resource Guide for Community Organizations, College Administrators, Faculty, and Students. Washington D.C.: Corporation for National Service.
10. Gray, Ondaatje, & others. (1999). Combining Service and Learning in Higher Education, Evaluation of the Learn and Serve America, Higher Education Program. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Education, 56-69.
11. Edwards, Mooney, & Heald. (September 2001). Who is Being Served? The Impact of Student Volunteering on Local Community Organizations. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 3, (3), 444-461.