The impacts and success factors of a work-from-home service-learning internship during COVID-19

May Mei Ling WONG*, Ka Hing LAU, Chad Wing Fung CHAN

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


COVID-19 has changed the way we teach and learn, including service-learning (S-L). This study examines the impacts of the work-from-home (WFH) mode on the work performance and learning outcomes of student interns on an eight-week S-L internship programme, and the key factors in terms of its success.

A qualitative research methodology is adopted by interviewing nine student interns and four supervisors from three community partner organisations (CPOs) to understand their experiences of how the WFH mode has impacted intern work performance and learning outcomes. Thematic analysis is used for the data analysis.

The interns uncover a number of negative WFH impacts on the S-L internship, including ineffective communication and management practice, low work efficiency and quality, a lack of task variety and learning opportunities and distractions in the home environment. Furthermore, five critical factors for WFH success are also identified, including prior preparation, effective communication systems, personal motivators at work, the nature of the job in relation to it being suited to the WFH mode, and organisational support.

The study examines impacts on student work performance and learning outcomes in an S-L summer internship programme operating under the WFH mode as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Key success factors and practical recommendations have been developed for enhancing the future success of S-L internships operating under the WFH mode.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-301
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Work-Applied Management
Issue number2
Early online date14 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2021


  • Work-from-home
  • Service-learning internship
  • Remote/off-site internship
  • Work performance impact
  • Learning outcomes


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