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Benefits of Service Learning

Research suggests that the integration of service into academic learning may increase student acquisition of subject knowledge. However, not all service learning experiences result in the same cognitive outcomes; the greater the degree of academic integration and the more continuous the students' reflections are on the experience, the stronger the positive effects of service learning are on outcomes such as reflective judgment and the "use of complex and multiple perspectives in identifying the causes of and formulating the solutions to specific social problems" (Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005, p. 193). Without the purposeful integration of service into the academic component, little cognitive development gains are achieved. Students themselves also recognize increased cognitive skills through the service learning experiences (Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005).