Understanding the stages of service learning

The process of service learning follows five stages:

1. Investigation

The first step is to make an inventory of your personal interests, skills and talents. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do I enjoy doing in my spare time?

  • How could I link my personal interests to my career-related study?

  • What skills do I want to develop?

  • Am I already involved in any school or community groups?

  • What issues of local significance concern me?

  • Do these local issues have a global significance?

Image: Schneider, Ian. Unsplash, 2016.

2. Preparation

During this stage you will develop your ideas by considering whether you need more information, researching, establishing timelines and making a plan of action.

  • In which areas might you need support?

  • Who could you contact for advice?

  • What do you hope to achieve during the experience?

  • Do you need more information or additional skills?

3. Action

Your service experiences should usually be planned with partners so that the benefits can be maximised. Seek advice from experts or leaders in the field or issue you are interested in.

  • Which type of service is most appropriate?

  • What action(s) are needed to get started?

  • What resources will I need?

  • Will this be a regular, ongoing commitment?

4. Reflection

Your ongoing thoughts and actions should be recorded in your service learning portfolio. These reflections should involve you:

  • describing and evaluating what took place

  • expressing your feelings

  • generating new ideas

  • asking questions

5. Demonstration

Your service learning portfolio is the demonstration! It contains the evidence of your participation and engagement with service learning. It can also serve as a valuable addition to your CV or personal statement by showing other skills you have developed alongside your academic abilities. Be creative: upload videos, photos, drawings, blogs, posters, mind maps and articles to highlight your achievements.

As well as your portfolio, you must meet with your service learning coordinator/advisor for three formal interviews during your 18 months of service.

Last updated