While academic service learning shares some qualities with community service and experiential learning, it is important to realize that it is not the same thing. Community service focuses on the community. It does not have a focus on the learning of the student completing the project; the recipients of the service are the beneficiaries. Experiential learning, on the other hand, focuses solely on the learning and academic goals of the student (Giddings, 2003). Academic service learning links community service with specific academic goals and course objectives. Four parties benefit from participation in ASL: students, faculty, the community and the institution. The figure obtained from R.G. Bringle (Personal Communication, February 9, 2006) shows the difference visually.
For an activity to be an academic service learning project it must:
The following are examples of what would be considered community service and examples of activities that would be considered academic service learning to help clarify the difference.
Examples of community service:
Examples of academic service learning: