Overview for Students

Key Components of service learning are:

  • Connecting Service with Learning – academically rigorous, meaningful service with a significant positive impact upon those involved
  • Reflection – assessment of personal and community needs, reflection on participation, and evaluation of progress
  • Reciprocity – both the student and community partner give and receive time, energy, knowledge, and creativity
  • Critical Thinking – involvement in situations conducive to creative, effective problem-solving
  • Social Responsibility – expansion of student’s compassion, civic awareness, and desire to be engaged in the community
  • Experiential Learning – use of direct experience and hands-on learning to develop skills useful in future careers, family life, and community involvement
  • Needs-Based – project based on community-identified needs



Service learning provides students unique and rich opportunities for growth and development personally, intellectually, and socially.

Intellectual Growth & Development Social Growth & Development Personal Growth & Development
  • Basic skills including expressing ideas, reading, and using technology
  • Higher level thinking skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking
  • Skills and issues specific to the experience motivation to learn
  • Application of knowledge
  • Observation, creativity, insight, judgment, and knowledge
  • Improved professional skills
  • Social and Civic responsibility and concern for others
  • Political efficacy
  • Civic participation
  • Knowledge and exploration of service-related careers
  • Understanding, communicating, appreciating and empathizing with others of different cultural, economic, social, etc. backgrounds
  • Leadership development skills
  • Empowerment
  • Moral development
  • Self-esteem
  • Character development
  • Improved social interaction
  • Increased willingness to take risks and seek challenges

Your Role as a Student

As a student in a service learning course, certain roles and responsibilities are expected of you in order to successfully partake in service learning. Both your instructor and your community partner will have expectations of you that you should be aware of. The student should be held accountable for being professional. The faculty member will prepare them with some general guidelines about working with community partners, but they also expect you to provide them with your expectations. Below are some of the responsibilities of the students.

    • To complete a Service Learning Partnership Agreement indicating their schedules and service objectives for the semester
    • To reliably fulfill service to your organization
    • To respect the policies and expectations of your organization, especially in regard to confidentiality and participation in required training sessions
    • To behave professionally in carrying out the tasks assigned
    • To observe your established dress code
    • To give at least 24-hour advance notice if planning to be absent

Service-Learning Matrix by Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis: