Schulz Information Center

“It's a good way for students to get out of the classroom and try to do what we learn hands on.”
—Carla Jasso, SSU service-learner

SSU faculty member

Impact of Service-Learning on Students

Goals for students in service-learning classes may include:

  • Students have the opportunity to do what they are learning in class through experiential education
  • Students have deeper understanding of self and their involvement in the community
  • Students are more aware of issues in the community and develop a sense of responsibility to address those issues
  • Students are exposed to diverse communities therefore dispelling misconceptions
  • Students have a shared experience and opportunity to develop classroom cohesiveness
  • Students develop civic responsibility and plan for future involvement

Research has shown that service-learning impacts students.

  1. Learning Outcomes
    • Increases academic learning
    • Increases ability to apply what they've learned in real world
    • Some studies show a positive impact and some no impact on grades and GPA
    • Increases critical thinking and problem analysis skills
    • Some studies show a positive impact and some no impact on cognitive moral development
  2. Personal Outcomes
    • Increases personal efficacy
    • Increases understanding of identity
    • Supports spiritual growth
    • Supports moral development
    • Supports interpersonal development such as team work, leadership, and communication skills
  3. Social Outcomes
    • Reduces or supports stereotyping
    • Facilitates cultural and racial understanding
    • Increases social responsibility, activism and citizenship skills
    • Increases commitment to service
    • Service in college is associated with involvement in service after graduation
  4. Career Development
  5. Relationship with institution
  6. Impact of service-learning classes with a political focus
    • Both students with an interest in politics and those without experience significant gains in just about every dimension of every civic learning
    • Students with little prior interest in the political process have larger and more consistent gains in civic learning
    • No impact on political ideology
    • No impact on political party affiliation2

1From At a Glance: What We Know About the Effects of Service-Learning on College Students, Faculty, Institutions and Communities.Opens in new tab.Janet S. Eyler, Dwight E. Giles, Jr., Christine M. Stenson, and Charlene J. Gray. Contact the CCE to request a viewing.

2The Place of Political Learning in College Anne Colby.Opens in new tab.Spring/Summer 2008 Peer Review. Contact the CCE for a hard copy of the entire Peer Review issue.

Contact the CCE for a hard copy of the entire Peer Review issue.