students engaged in society

Service Learning

Service Learning combines academic teaching with civic involvement. For instance, students of law could develop and manage a legal advice office for refugees.  

The Service Learning concept was first developed in North America and progressed on a decentralised basis in various contexts and with various intentions. During a lengthy negotiation process, experts in theory and practice jointly developed the ground rules for effective Service Learning projects. Initial principles to ensure good practice in combined community service and academic learning projects at schools and universities were defined at a conference in Wingspread, USA, in 1989 (Whea 2007, p. 1). Subsequently, the principles were repeatedly revised on the basis of new research and practical experience. In 2008, the principles were finally reformulated as eight evidence-based and widely accepted quality standards:

  • Meaningful Service
  • Link to Curriculum
  • Reflection
  • Diversity
  • Youth Voice
  • Partnerships
  • Progress Monitoring
  • Duration and Intensity

On top of this, indicators were defined for each standard. Standards of quality in detail