Types of Service-Learning

The following list gives a sense of the many ways students can apply instruction and practice needed skills through helping others. Full-scale projects include formal linkages with coursework, and part of the student grade is tied to the service-learning activities. Note that different types of projects have students apply different skills.

Direct Service-Learning: person-to-person, face-to-face service projects in which the students’ service directly impacts individuals who receive the service from the students. Examples include

• Tutoring other students and adults

• Conducting art/music/dance lessons for younger students

• Helping other students resolve conflict

• Giving performances on violence and drug prevention

• Creating lessons and presenting them to younger students

• Creating life reviews for Hospice patients

Impact on/skills practiced by servers include the following: caring for others, personal responsibility, dependability, interpersonal skills, ability to get along with others who are different, problem-solving, beginning-to-end, big-picture learning.

Indirect Service-Learning: working on broad issues, environmental projects, community development-projects that have clear benefits to the community or environment, but not necessarily to individual identified people with whom the students are working. Examples include

• Compiling a town history

• Restoring historic structures or building low-income housing

• Removing exotic plants and restoring ecosystems, preparing preserve areas for public use

Impact on/skills practiced by servers include the following: cooperation, teamwork skills, playing different roles, organizing, prioritizing, project-specific skills.

Research-Based Service-Learning: gathering and presenting information on areas of interest and need–projects that find, gather, and report on information that is needed. Examples include

• Writing a guide on available community services and translating it into Spanish and other languages of new residents

• Conducting longitudinal studies of local bodies of water; water testing for local residents

• Gathering information and creating brochures or videos for non-profit or government agencies

• Mapping state lands and monitoring flora and fauna

• Conducting surveys, studies, evaluations, experiments, interviews, etc.

Impact on/skills practiced by servers include the following: learn how to learn/get answers/find information, make discriminating judgments, work systematically, organizational skills, learn how to assess, evaluate, and test hypotheses.

Advocacy Service-Learning: educating others about topics of public interest – projects that aim to create awareness and action on some issue that is in the public interest. Examples include

• Planning and putting on public forums on topics of interest in the community

• Conducting public information campaigns on topics of interest or local needs

• Working with elected officials to draft legislation to improve communities

• Training the community in fire safety or disaster preparation

Impact on/skills practiced by servers include the following: perseverance; understanding rules, systems, processes; engaged citizenship, working with adults.

National Service-Learning Clearinghouse, Retrieved, February 25, 2013 http://www.servicelearning.org/