Loyola University Chicago


Center for Experiential Learning

Benefits of S-L

Enhancing student learning while making a difference in the world

Research has demonstrated that participation in service-learning offers significant academic and personal benefits for students.

  • When combined with reflection on their experiences, a service-learning course design can increase students’ academic learning and enhance their understanding of the subject matter.
  • Community-based experiences strengthen students’ ability to apply what they have learned to “real world” settings.
  • Working in the community enhances students’ personal development, e.g. sense of personal efficacy, personal/communal identity, social responsibility, and moral development.
  • Concrete engagement in community service also increases students’ social responsibility and citizenship skills.

Loyola's students have repeatedly validated this research in self-reports about their service-learning class experiences.  For example:

76%of service-learning students surveyed in Spring 2011 indicate that they were more engaged in their service-learning class(es) as compared to their other, non-community-based courses.

78% indicate that they were more interested in their service-learning course topic after taking their service-learning class.

84% rate the likelihood that they will continue to engage in community-based work related to their service-learning course topic as "very" or "somewhat likely."

84% either "Strongly agree" or "agree" that "Participation in community service or a community-based project enhanced my understanding of this course’s academic content."

Of course, service-learning classes benefit more than just the students.  CEL data indicate that Loyola service-learning students contributed over 240,000 hours of voluntary service to the broader community as part of their courses...all while building valuable academic, personal, civic, and pre-professional skills. 

Click herefor a "By the Numbers" survey of some of the impacts of Loyola's service-learning program on the community and on students' perceptions of their own growth and development in service-learning classes.