Service-learning is growing in popularity. Ziolkowski (1996) pointed out that if service-learning is to become a lasting component in American education, it must have a clear link to "the academy" (in addition to the development of moral and civic values and the benefit to the community). We therefore examined students' perception of their learning of specific aspects of course content. We measured perceived learning in two sections of Cognitive Psychology in which half of the students did service-learning. We asked each student to rate his or her knowledge of Attention, Memory, Language, Cognitive Development, Metacognition, Individual Differences in cognitive processes, and Thinking. Service-Learning students felt they knew significantly more about Cognitive Development than did non-Service-Learning students. In a subsequent Cognitive Psychology course, there was a trend for Service-Learners to perform better than non-Service-Learning students on tests. Students in a different course, a seminar on homelessness, felt that the major part of their learning had come from service-learning.
Gardner, Elizabeth B. and Baron, Corinne M., "Academic Effects of Service-Learning" (1998). Higher Education. 54.
Presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco, CA, Aug. 14-18, 1998.