A Tale of Two Cities in Service-Learning: Cross-Cultural Comparison Between Hong Kong and Singapore of Student Developmental Outcomes After Service-Learning Experience and Validation of S-LOMS

Ka Hing LAU, Robin Stanley SNELL

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsPresentation


Service-learning as an experiential pedagogy, which emphasises students’ application of knowledge to serve the community, was introduced to tertiary education in Asia more than a decade ago. However, there has been little prior Asia based cross-cultural research into student developmental outcomes arising from service-learning, largely reflecting the lack of a valid measurement instrument. Recent studies of Hong Kong students have established the validity of the Service-Learning Outcomes Measurement Scale (S-LOMS) as a standardised and flexible measurement instrument for assessing student developmental outcomes arising from service-learning. One aim of the current study was to establish whether S-LOMS is also valid for use in Asia outside Hong Kong. The current study compared the developmental outcomes arising from service-learning for Hong Kong (N=923) and Singapore (N=330) students across the eleven domains that are represented by the subscales of S-LOMS. A pretest-posttest research design was adopted, with service-learning interventions in between. Literature review revealed that the two jurisdictions bear similar characteristics in terms of social context and educational systems, and have comparable service-learning practices at university level. Investigation of the pretest data (baseline) indicated significantly higher scores for Singapore students on seven domains, which may have reflected greater prior exposure to community service, as compared with the Hong Kong students. Comparisons of pretest and posttest scores through paired-sample t-tests indicated that service-learning had significantly greater developmental impact in five domains for Hong Kong students as compared with Singapore students. While there were no significant improvements for Singapore students in caring and respect, sense of social responsibility and commitment to self-improvement, Hong Kong students perceived themselves as having significantly improved in all domains. Moreover, the scale validation also showed that S-LOMS is a reliable measurement instrument for both Hong Kong and Singapore samples, with satisfactory confirmatory factor analysis and multi-sample analysis results.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 13 Nov 2020
EventThe 3rd Conference for Higher Education Research - Hong Kong 2020: Innovations of Higher Education Amid the Pandemic: Institutional Management, Teaching, and Research Perspectives - Lingnan University, Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Duration: 13 Nov 202014 Nov 2020


ConferenceThe 3rd Conference for Higher Education Research - Hong Kong 2020
Abbreviated titleCHER-Hong Kong 2020
Country/TerritoryHong Kong
CityHong Kong
OtherHeld at Lingnan University in Hong Kong, The Conference for Higher Education Research – Hong Kong is a multidisciplinary conference co-organised by Lingnan University (Hong Kong) and the Asia Pacific Higher Education Research Partnership (APHERP), and in collaboration with University of Bath and Durham University.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in school or university closures all across the world, triggering unprecedented challenges for education systems. According to UNESCO, 1.5 billion learners are out of the classroom globally, from pre-primary to higher education. Of the 195 countries that had closed schools in April 2020, 128 have yet to announce plans for their reopening.

It is clear that the future of higher education needs rethinking in many ways amid the pandemic. The International Association of Universities (IAU) Global Survey on the Impact of COVID-19 on Higher Education finds, among other things, that (i) COVID-19 has had an impact on international student mobility at 89% of HEIs; (ii) at almost all HEIs, the shift from face-to-face to distance teaching did not come without challenges; and (iii) 80% of HEIs reported that research has been affected by the pandemic at their institutions.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world’s higher education will be long lasting. We in higher education must accept the reality of a paradigm shift. The crisis situation created by the horrible pandemic has served to jolt us out of the trap of yesterday’s status quo and make necessary changes.

The CHER – Hong Kong 2020 aims to foster dialogue on the staggering impact of COVID-19 on the future of higher education and the innovations required to meet the global challenges, with special focus on the following topics:

- Institutional Management
- Teaching and Learning Innovations
- Emerging Higher Education Research Directions
- Impact on Finance and University Governance
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