Service Learning in Higher Education: A Road Map
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As institutions of higher education struggle to stay relevant, competitive, accessible, and flexible, they are scrambling to attend to a shift in focus for new students. This shift involves experiential learning. The purpose of this major research paper was to examine the existing structures, to seek gaps in the experiential learning programs, and to devise a framework to move forward. The specific focus was on experiential learning at Brock University in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences. The methodology was underscored with cognitive constructivism and appreciative theory. Data collection involved content analysis steps established by Krippendorff (2004) and Weber (1985). Data analysis involved the four dimensions of reflection designed by LaBoskey, including the purpose, context, content, and procedures. The results developed understandings on the state of formal processes and pathways within service learning. A tool kit was generated that defines service learning and offers an overview of the types of service learning typically employed. The tool kit acts as a reference guide for those interested in implementing experiential learning courses. Importantly, the results also provided 10 key points in experiential learning courses by Emily Allan. A flow chart illustrates the connections among each of the 10 points, and then they are described in full to establish a strategy for the way forward in experiential learning.