Utilizing 2012 National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) data for both freshmen and senior students on a college campus, this study isolates the influence of participation in service learning courses on freshmen and senior students’ application of deep approaches to learning. Deep learning, as compared to surface learning, describes the extent to which a student engages in the learning process. Students who use deep learning strategies make more robust connections to course material by emphasizing learning activities such as integration, synthesis, and reflection. By making deeper connections, students focus on both the substance and the underlying meaning of their studies. Students learn to apply the knowledge gained to real life situations and successfully integrate this with prior learning. Multiple linear regression results for both freshmen and senior students suggest that students’ use of deep approaches to learning increased as their participation in service learning courses increased, adjusting for student characteristics and participation in other high impact practices. These findings provide a rationale for institutions to support faculty who engage with their community partners to develop service learning courses. For faculty who teach service learning courses, these findings support the value, from an institutional perspective, of the work that they do.
Hahn, T. W., & Hatcher, J. A. (2015), 55-70. The Relationship between Enrollment in Service Learning Courses and Deep Approaches to Learning: A Campus Study. PRISM: A Journal of Regional Engagement, 4 (2). Retrieved from http://encompass.eku.edu/prism/vol4/iss2/1