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active learning in higher education

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In the USA, many universities and colleges integrate student classroom learning with interaction in the community. Educators in pre-professional programs recognize the importance of understanding how students integrate community service learning with professional practice. Yet, missing from this body of literature is a discussion of the effects of service learning on social work undergraduate students. This article provides insight into the student experience as expressed in the voices of pre-service social workers that completed community service field placements in the USA. The findings suggest a developmental model of learning with common themes that progressed from basic understanding to integration. The demonstration of the service learning model applied to undergraduate internships in social work demonstrates the broad application of community-based learning models to teaching in the health care and counseling professions.