Centro Latinoamericano de Aprendizaje y Servicio Solidario

What is “service-learning”?

Learning to Serve, Serving to Learn

Some service-learning definitions:


    • “Service-leaning seeks to engage students in activities that both combine community service and academic learning" (Furco, 2002: 25)

      "Community learning activities planned by high schools, with the participation of the educational community and at the service of both the request of a community and the learning of the students who do it. It is an experience that allows students to apply concepts, procedures and skills from the formal learning of the various subjects in their everyday environment. "(Chilean Ministry of Education, 2006: 15)


      "In this proposal solidarity is both an objective, content and teaching strategy. Educating solidary* / community conscious individuals requires coherence between the values we appeal to and the way we promote them. (...) Service-learning promotes a comprehensive educational intervention, through the development of a community service that integrates curricular contents, contextualizing academic learning and promoting the training for citizenship based on solidarity*, critical attitude and participation.” (Centro del Voluntariado del Uruguay, 2007:15-17)

      "A solidarity action concerned with the young volunteer training. (...) It is an action and reflection volunteering, a space of socio-political education that contributes to the development of a critical sense, human and social rights awareness, respect for the cultural differences and a solidarity testimony and experience. "(Sberga, 2003)

      "An educational proposal that combines learning and community service processes in a single well-articulated project where the participants learn to work with real needs of their environment with the purpose of improving it." (Catalan Service-Learning Promotion Centre, 2010)

      "Service-learning differs from other forms of community service or volunteer work because the education of students and young people is always its core. Students actively participate in the process of understanding, integrating and applying knowledge from various subject areas as they work to improve their communities. "(Berger Kaye, 2010)

      " a method—(A) under which students or participants learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized service that— (i) is conducted in and meets the needs of a community; (ii) is coordinated with an elementary school, secondary school, institution of higher education, or community service program, and with the community; and (iii) helps foster civic responsibility; and (B) that— (i) is integrated into and enhances the academic curriculum of the students, or the educational components of the community service program in which the participants are enrolled; and (ii) provides structured time for the students or participants to reflect on the service experience. (National and Community Service Act, Congress of the United States of America, 1990)