Previous studies have reported the feasibility and benefits of online service learning, but little is known about who benefits more from online SL and who is more satisfied. This study addressed these questions based on an evaluation of online service learning projects implemented in Xi’an and Chengdu, China, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pretest–posttest comparison showed significant positive changes in two intended learning outcomes (i.e., positive youth development qualities and service leadership qualities) and life satisfaction before and after the service among participating students in the Xi’an project. Cross-lagged modeling based on Xi’an and Chengdu data revealed that students with better initial positive youth development qualities tended to show increased service leadership qualities and life satisfaction after the service, while initial service leadership qualities did not predict positive youth development qualities and life satisfaction after the service. However, the two-line test indicated that some of these relationships might be curvilinear. Finally, Pearson correlation analyses demonstrated that students who experienced greater changes in positive youth development qualities and service leadership qualities reported better appraisal of course qualities, teacher performance, and course effectiveness, while multiple regression analyses showed the unique effects of change in service leadership qualities (but not change in positive youth development qualities) on the perception of teacher performance and course effectiveness. Altogether, this study not only showcases the potential benefits of online SL, but also provides initial evidence suggesting the variation in (perceived) benefits by students’ psychosocial competencies and learning experiences.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The reported service learning projects and this paper are financially supported by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Wofoo Foundation.
© 2022, The International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS) and Springer Nature B.V.
- Online service learning
- Project evaluation
- Positive youth development
- Service leadership
- Life satisfaction