Conceptual Framework for Key Process Ingredients Salient for Effective Service-Learning

Robin Stanley SNELL*, Ka Hing LAU

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Book Chapters | Papers in Conference ProceedingsBook ChapterResearchpeer-review


Although service-learning is an established pedagogy, widely adopted in tertiary education around the world, the nature of the key ingredients for successful service-learning experience in terms of yielding positive developmental outcomes for students has not been fully discerned. In this chapter, we analyse previous literature to identify six key ingredients typically found in successful service-learning experience. First, students provide meaningful service, using academic knowledge to address real needs. Second, the partner organisation representative (POR) plays a positive role in supporting the project. Third, there is thorough preparation and support for students, who receive appropriate orientation, training, and consultation. Fourth, there is effective reflection by students, supported by exercises that help them recall and make sense of surprises and key choice points. Fifth, there is effective course design with integration of service-learning. Sixth, there is stakeholder synergy in terms of collaboration, communication, and co-ownership, as well as reciprocity. Looking ahead to future research, we argue that it is essential to obtain inter-subjectively fair and trustworthy data about the extent to which these six key ingredients, plus any additional success factors, are perceived to have been achieved. Accordingly, we propose a multi-stakeholder approach for data collection. Possible cultural influences when applying these ingredients in the Chinese context are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationService-Learning Capacity Enhancement in Hong Kong Higher Education
EditorsGrace NGAI, Daniel T.L. SHEK
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9789811924378
ISBN (Print)9789811924361
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2022

Publication series

NameQuality of Life in Asia
ISSN (Print)2211-0550
ISSN (Electronic)2211-0569

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper results from a cross-institutional project named “Cross-institutional Capacity Building for Service-Learning in Hong Kong Higher Education Institutions (PolyU4/T&L/16-19)”, aiming at enhancing and supporting the development of service-learning as an effective pedagogical strategy under the collaboration of Lingnan University, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong Baptist University, and The Education University of Hong Kong. The project was launched in 2017 and has been funded by the University Grants Committee (UGC) of the HKSAR government. The authors wish to thank the UGC for funding the project, and the above institutions for their participation in the process.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.


  • Service-learning experience
  • Process variables
  • Assessment
  • Outcomes
  • Multi-stakeholder approach


Dive into the research topics of 'Conceptual Framework for Key Process Ingredients Salient for Effective Service-Learning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this