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Experiential Learning Terminology

Glossary of Terminology

Overarching Terminology

Community Based Learning can be defined as a broad set of teaching/learning strategies that enables individuals to learning from any segment of the community. Common forms of community-based learning includes field trips, internships, and apprenticeships, which offer important opportunities for students to master skills within real-life setting but have no formal service dimension.  Thomas Owens and Changhua Wang, "Community-Based Learning: A Foundation for Meaningful Educational Reform. Northwest Regional Education Laboratory School Improvement Research Series" January 2006 & National Youth Leadership Council

Community Based Research (CBR) is research conducted by, for, and with the participation of community members. CBR involves collaboration between community members (represented by grassroots activists, community-based organizations, workers etc.) and higher education researchers. Such collaboration can have powerful and long-lasting results that reflect the investment of each party and the benefits of working together. Colorado Community-Based Research Network

Community Based Action Research (CBAR) is the highest level of experiential learning. CBAR is a process in which information gathering, learning about a community, critical an analysis, producing a profile or study and a process of social change can be integrated into a single cyclical process. Kansas Campus Compact

Experiential Learning is defined as "engaged learning in which the learner experiences a visceral connection to the subject matter. Good experiential learning combines direct experience that is meaningful to the students with guided reflection and analysis. It is a challenging, active, student-centered process that impels students toward opportunities for taking initiative, responsibility, and decision making." Learn and Serve America's National Service-Learning Clearinghouse

Experiential Education – Students learn by actively engaging in experiences that will have benefits and consequences, along with focused reflection on those experiences. Students experience practical applications of the material being taught, and develop new skills, attitudes, and ways of thinking. Service-learning falls under the broader umbrella of experiential education. "Emotionally engaged learning in which the learner experiences a visceral connection to the subject matter. Good experiential learning combines direct experience that is meaningful to the student with guided reflection and analysis. It is a challenging, active, student-centered process that impels students toward opportunities for taking initiative, responsibility, and decision making." Learn and Serve America's National Service-Learning Clearinghouse

Project Based Service-Learning is where faculty or students create a close relationship with a community partner and, together, look for specific projects that help forward the mission and goals of the organization. Project based service-learning experience do not generally involve direct service on the part of students. In these experiences, students and faculty end up performing the 'back end' work (grant writing, curriculum development, and public relation documents) of the community organizations and much of that work can be accomplished in class, in small or large groups in libraries. University of Denver Center for Community Engagement & Service-Learning Community Development - Learn and Serve Corporation for National & Community Service

Service-Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. Learn and Serve Corporation for National & Community Service

Specific Terminology

Action Research – Community action research is a process in which information gathering, learning about a community, critical analysis, producing a profile or study and a process of social change can be integrated into a single cyclical process. Kansas Campus Compact.

Assessment – The process of gathering information in order to make an evaluation. An evaluation is a decision or judgment about whether an effort is successful and to what extent that effort has or has not met a goal. Evaluation of effects of service-learning on students who take classes that employ service-learning as a pedagogy, on the community partner or agency that delivers services students assists with, on faculty members who teach those courses, and on the institution under whose auspices service-learning courses are offered. Assessment may be descriptive or evaluative; involve conventional Likert-type items or narrative reports; and be directed toward above-named stakeholders.

Capacity-Building – Creating the infrastructure necessary to support needed programs and services inside the communities. Helping a nonprofit housing program establish a volunteer network, or creating a community watch program to help control and prevent crime are examples of capacity-building activities. Students-in-Service.

Civic Engagement – Civic engagement is an institutional commitment to public purposes and responsibilities intended to strengthen a democratic way of life. Kansas Campus Compact.

Civic Engagement – means working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes. - Civic Responsibility and Higher Education (2000) edited by Thomas Ehrlich.

Civic Responsibility – The commitment of a citizen to his or her community to take responsibility for the well-being of the community.  Service-learning and community engagement are often cited as developing students' civic responsibility. National Service-Learning Clearinghouse

Community-Based Learning – A term used for any learning experience that occurs in the community. Common forms of community-based learning include field trips, internships, and apprenticeships, which offer important opportunities for students to master skills within real-life settings but have no formal service dimension. National Youth Leadership Council.

Community-Based Research – Academic opportunities that involve community members in the creation and direction of research projects.

Community Partner – The agency that acts as a conduit for bringing resources into the community (e.g., government, nonprofit agency, or faith-based agency) bringing needed services to the community via existing distribution channels while taking responsibility for students work.  Often a community partner identifies community needs and utilizes its existing infrastructure for project implementation. National Service-Learning Clearinghouse

Community Service – Community service is often a form of volunteerism. It is done within a defined community, which could be a classroom, school, town, or city. Typically, it does not have an intentional tie to learning; the emphasis is strictly on service. In the context of the judicial system, "community service" sometimes has a punitive meaning. National Youth Leadership Council.

Internships – "An internship is a short-term, mentored work experience with a learning focus connected to a student's major or career." – KSU Career Services

Reciprocal Partnerships – Productive relationships formed between the service-learning participants and other community members and organizations, through which all parties benefit.  National Youth Leadership Council.

Reciprocity – A central component in service-learning and community engagement that suggests that every individual, organization, and entity involved in service-learning functions as both a teacher and a learner.

Reflection – The processing of the service experience that is done before (pre-reflection), during, and after (post-reflection) service, using multiple methods to encourage critical and creative thinking. It is often through reflection that the service activities and the learning objectives connect.  National Youth Leadership Council.

Service – The primary focus is on the service being provided as well as the benefits the service activities have on the recipients.  The students receive some benefits by learning more about how their service makes a difference. Kansas Campus Compact.

Volunteer/Community Service – is the entry point of experiential learning that includes any service or action done on behalf of others that benefits an individual or community and offers no direct monetary reward. Volunteerism is often extra curricular and is not woven into a university curriculum.

Volunteerism – The primary emphasis is on the service being provided and the primary intended beneficiary is clearly the service recipient. Kansas Campus Compact.

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