Evidence of Benefits

A number of researchers (Astin et al., 2000; Eyler & Giles, 1999; Eyler et al., 2001 & 2007; McGoldrick & Ziegert, 2002; Willis, 2002) have documented the benefits of service-learning to students, faculty, academic institutions, and community members. Service-learning can enhance the learning experience and improve student learning outcomes, particularly as they relate to personal and interpersonal development, understanding and application, critical thinking, and citizenship. Faculty who employ service-learning and other engaged practices report enhanced teaching, service, and research opportunities. Community partners can enjoy a number of benefits from well-designed service-learning, including students’ application of skills and creation of resources that help them support their organizational missions.

Below is a list of outcomes associated with service-learning. We are working to expand this list as more literature is collected. As you find additional research on service-learning outcomes, please let us know so that we might continue to expand the list.

Students

  • Improves academic outcomes as demonstrated through complexity of understanding, problem analysis, critical thinking, and cognitive development
  • Increased learning and motivation to work hard compared to traditionally taught class, as reported by students
  • Improved ability to apply what they’ve learned in the “real world,” as reported by students and faculty
  • Stronger faculty-student relationships, as reported by students
  • Enhanced personal development such as sense of personal efficacy, personal identity, spiritual growth, and moral development
  • Increased interpersonal development, ability to work well with others, and leadership and communication skills
  • Reduced perception of stereotypes and enhanced cultural and racial understanding, as reported by students
  • Increased commitment to service

Faculty

  • Satisfaction with quality of student learning
  • Enhanced teaching quality
  • Opportunities for application of professional expertise
  • Opportunities for research
  • Increased diversity in the classroom by accommodating a wide variety of learning styles

Colleges and Universities

  • Improved student satisfaction with college
  • Increased student retention
  • Increased likelihood of persistence
  • Improved community relations

Communities

  • Benefit of resources provided by student service
  • Benefit from faculty expertise
  • Enhanced university relations

Outcomes collected by PSSL at Pellissippi State Community College