In contrast to outcome, which measures the direct achievements of a Service Learning project, impact comprises the long-term effects the project aims to achieve.
In the university context, Service Learning projects are particularly suited to promote competence-based learning. Competences have been defined as “the cognitive abilities and skills available to or learnable by individuals to solve specific problems associated with motivational, volitional and social dispositions for using these skills and abilities in variable situations” (Weinert 2001). Depending on the project design, lecturers can define learning objectives for their modules in the following areas:
Relevant details on this subject (in German) have been published by the University of Ulm. Go to flyer
Civic involvement should trigger mind shifts and transformation processes – the more systematic and sustainable they are, the more motivating and effective Service Learning becomes for all stakeholders. In this context, the impact is a primary objective that may at first appear abstract and therefore requires diligent operationalisation.
The three-pillar model, built on ecology, social matters, and economy, promotes an operational and simultaneously holistic perception of the sustainability of the Service Learning project:
Projects are not always suitable to address all three pillars and the pillars may affect different target groups to a different extent. Lecturers can either introduce these questions according to a plan or bring them up jointly with all participants during implementation.