University of Southern Indiana

Essential Steps of Service-Learning

1. Inventory and Investigation

Using social analysis methods, students

  • identify a need.
  • analyze the underlying problem.

2. Preparation and Planning

With guidance from their teacher, students

  • collaborate with community partners.
  • develop a plan that encouraged responsibility.
  • recognize the integration of service and learning.
  • articulate roles and responsibilities of all involved.
  • define realistic parameters for implementation.

3. Action

Through direct service or indirect service or a combination of these approaches, students take action that

  • has value, purpose, and meaning.
  • uses previously learned and newly acquired academic skills and knowledge.
  • Offers unique learning experiences
  • has real consequences
  • offers a safe environment to learn, make mistakes, and succeed.

4. Reflection

Participating students

  • describe what happened.
  • examine the difference made.
  • place experience in a larger context.
  • consider project improvements,
  • identify questions.
  • receive feedback.

5. Demonstration

Students show what they have learned by

  • reporting to peers, faculty, and/or community members.
  • writing articles or letters to local newspapers regarding issues of public concern.
  • creating a publication or website that helps others learn from students' experiences.
  • making presentations.
  • creating displays.

(Adapted from The Complete Guide to Service Learning: Proven, Practical Ways to Engage Students in Civic Responsibility, Academic Curriculum, and Social Action, p. 47)

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