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Service Learning


Last Reviewed:
March 28, 2024

First Published:
March 30, 2022


According to Seifer and Connors (2007), “service learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities” (p. 5). Service-learning activities promote learning via active participation in real-life experiences that enhance students’ knowledge, skills, and attitudes. Reflection, a key component of service learning, provides students the continuous opportunity to critically analyze and learn from the experience.

Use the comments section below to let us know your ideas about service learning.

  1. Service Learning is not simply an episodic volunteer program. The service experience should be a meaningful project in which both the students and community benefit. When developing the service project, faculty should work collaboratively with students and the community to identify relevant needs in which to address.
  2. Reflection is a critical element of service learning. When designing reflection questions consider these three levels:
    1. The Mirror level focuses on a clear reflection of the self and asks questions such as who am I?, what are my values?, what have I learned about myself through this experience?, how have you challenged yourself, your ideals, your philosophies, your concept of life or the way you live?
    2. The Microscope level makes the small experiences large and asks questions such as describe your experience, what would you change about this situation if you were in charge?, what have you learned about this agency, these people, or the community?, was there a moment of failure, success, indecision, doubt, humor, frustration, happiness, or sadness?
    3. The Binoculars level makes what appears distant, appear closer and asks questions such as are you able to identify any underlying or overarching issues which influence the problem?, what could be done to change the situation?, how will this alter your future behaviors, attitudes, or career?

      McCarthy, T. (2013). Levels of reflection: The mirror, the microscope, and the binoculars. International Journal of Self-Directed Learning, 10(1), 1-22.