Steps to Implementation
Now that Service Learning is better understood, how is it implemented?
Development can be challenging, but a successful learning experience is that
much more rewarding.
1. Clearly state the goals you have in mind for your Service Learning
2. Identify both the learning and service objectives. These first two steps
will serve as tools for identifying the most appropriate community partner(s),
as well as provide you and anyone else involved in the planning process with the
opportunity to address potential obstacles and opportunities early on in the
3. Contact the Community Service department. The department will act as a
resource in the planning stages, as well as in placement for and evaluation of
4. Identify and collaborate with potential organizations for student
placement. Assess need(s) of partner organization(s) and seek to provide service
that helps fulfill those needs while still maintaining course relevancy.
5. Introduce/Explain the core concepts of SL to the class if this is a first
time effort. Make sure students understand how they will be evaluated and the
relevancy of SL to the course subject material. Have students sign SL
6. Using the pool of potential community partners, assist students in
choosing an agency through an assessment of their interests and skills.
7. Keep lines of communication open between all parties involved (Community
Partner, Community Service Department, students). A couple of effective tools
are email lists and/or online message boards. The mid- and end of semester
evaluations maintain a consistent measure of student participation.
8. Student reflection work is key to maintaining course relevancy and
providing a genuine learning experience throughout. In-class discussion,
journals, and reflective papers and projects are just some of the useful methods
9. Now, let's wrap it up! Finish up the course with student reflection and
evaluation. It's also important to debrief with the Community Organization(s).
Schedule a meeting to review the semester, identifying what worked and what
didn't, and what future steps will be.