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Charleston Southern University > Civic Engagement > Service Learning Benefits

Benefits of Service Learning

Grounded in the learning theories of John Dewey, Service Learning is firmly established in over 720 colleges and universities nationwide.

  • You can learn more about Service Learning by navigating within this site using the menu to your right. A Faculty Guidebook and resource materials are available to help you learn more. Take a few minutes and learn how to teach more effectively using this method.

What is Service Learning?

  • Service Learning is a credit-bearing, educational experience in which students: 1) participate in an organized service activity that meets identified on- and off-campus community needs and 2) reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of course content, a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of civic responsibility. Being sensitive to and understanding the world's problems as well as addressing them through collaboration and commitment.

How is Service Learning different from Internships?

  • PURPOSE: Internships are capstone experiences that focus on job training and career networking. Service Learning exposes students to a career field and helps them apply classroom learning in a nonprofit community setting to meet community needs.
  • METHOD: Service Learning involves ongoing written and in-class reflection connecting the service with course material. Internships require a summary paper and an evaluation.
  • STRUCTURE: Service Learning is integrated within a course; internships are considered a course on their own.
  • DURATION: Service Learning could be called a mini-internship. Service Learning often compliments internships by providing students with a shorter-term community experience that can help them refine or redirect their goals for longer internships.

What are the Benefits of Service Learning?

  • More lively class discussions and increased student participation. 
  • Greater student retention of course material.
  • Greater student awareness of community and real world issues.
  • More innovative approaches to classroom instruction.
  • Enhanced faculty opportunities for teaching variety.
  • Greater faculty awareness of community issues.