Title

The Effectiveness of Service-Learning: It's Not Always what you Think

Abstract

Service-learning is a teaching strategy that offers students opportunities to learn both in the classroom and in the wider world. This pedagogical tool provides students with chances to directly interact with local agencies and effect change in the community. Thus, service-learning holds the potential to broaden and significantly enhance the learning climate for students. Based on an established theoretical model of academic motivation, the present study examined the effectiveness of service-learning to enhance the learning climate across a variety of academic disciplines. More than 600 students registered in service-learning courses from more than 30 different disciplines took part in the study. Results showed that when service-learning contributes to an enhancement of the positivity of the learning climate, then positive forms of motivation, civic skills, problem solving, and appreciation of diversity significantly increased over the course of the semester. Results also showed that type of involvement, amount of in-class discussion, and reflections are important factors contributing to the effectiveness of the service-learning environment.

Department(s)

Psychology
Sociology and Anthropology

Document Type

Article

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1177/105382590113300302

Keywords

Civic Skills, Engagement, Motivation, Self-Determination Theory, Service-Learning

Publication Date

3-1-2011

Journal Title

Journal of Experiential Education

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