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A comparison of the experiences and vocational benefits of service-learning and community service volunteering in a community-based exercise program

Jenelle B. Weidner, Rachael C. Stone, Amy E. Latimer-Cheung, Jennifer R. Tomasone


Service-learning (SL) is a form of pedagogy which integrates community service into class curriculums. Literature has highlighted the benefits of service-learning within a variety of student outcomes, including personal development, academic learning, interpersonal outcomes and outcomes related to the university experience. However, there is debate as to whether community service may provide a better foundation for these outcomes. Therefore, it is pertinent to compare outcomes of service-learning and community service volunteering in order to better understand and implement theory and implications for practice. This study compares the experiential and vocational outcomes of service-learners and community service volunteers (CS) involved in a community-based exercise program. Participants (SL; n = 22, CS; n =24) were alumni recruited from the XXXX database within the XXXX School of Kinesiology and Health Studies.  Online surveys were used to collect data examining outcomes related to Self-Determination Theory constructs for assessment of service experience and career transitions. Analyses of covariance revealed statistically significant higher scores for SL regarding outcomes of autonomy perceptions in their service role and perceived influence of relatedness in guiding career pursuits. SL provides experiential and vocational benefits that may exceed community service volunteering, specifically in regard to fostering career relatedness and autonomy supportive program structures. 


Service-learning; community service volunteering;pedagogy; Self-Determination Theory; trainer

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Partnerships is sponsored by North Carolina Campus Compact, and hosted by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. ISSN: 1944-1061
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