students engaged in society

Learning through community engagement

Service Learning at your higher education facility?

Would you like to integrate Service Learning into your higher education facility? Find some inspiration on our project platform and find out whether your higher education facility already carries out Service Learning. We also offer helpful tools and weblinks to help you with your project. Don’t hesitate to contact our Centre should you have any future questions.

Service Learning offers students the opportunity to apply their scientific expertise in practice and actively work for the good of society in the context of a university course. Below are some examples of Service Learning projects:

  • Business students team up with a sheltered workshop for the disabled to draw up a business plan for a new product. 
  • Prospective biologists develop teaching materials for a new urban park.  
  • Students of German language and literature join up with unemployed people to write articles for a homeless magazine. 
  • Future historians work with people in a retirement home, putting on an exhibition of the 1950s based on their photos and histories. 

Why Service Learning?

  • Students learn through service – according to the ‘learning by doing’ principle.
  • The close link between theory and practice improves students’ problem solving and reflective abilities.
  • Service Learning promotes students’ analytical and critical thinking and opens up new perspectives.
  • Students train interdisciplinary skills, such as communication skills and the ability to work in a team. 
  • Practical experience gained in the Service-Learning project helps students in their further studies.
  • Performance of practical work raises students’ motivation to learn.

The learning and teaching method in detail

Aside from the familiar tasks associated with university courses, Service Learning projects confront students with an additional challenge: They are required to develop and implement a project of a non-profit nature in conjunction with (mostly non-university) cooperation partners. To support students in this endeavour, Halberstadt & Schank (2017) have adapted the Business Model Canvas for Service Learning at universities and colleges.