Service-learning is defined as a method:
a) under which participants learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized service experiences that meet actual community needs that are coordinated in collaboration with the community;
b) that is integrated with specific learning objectives and provides structured time for participants to think, talk, or write about what they did and saw during the actual service activity;
c) that provides participants with opportunities to use newly acquired skills and knowledge in real-life situations in their own communities; and
d) that enhances what is done in a program by extending participant learning beyond the organization and into the community, and helps foster a sense of caring for others.
In other words, service-learning is made up of activities that connect serving your community with the learning you already do in your program or organization. Service-learning provides a real-life application of knowledge and skills to real-life community needs.
National Dropout Prevention Center, "Service-Learning Reference for Senior Corps Directors" (2002). Guides. 45.