Service learning is an educational approach that combines traditional curricular learning objectives with community service to create a politically progressive learning experience that effects positive change. The experience allows students to engage in activities that address human and community needs together with educational tasks to foster reflection and critical thinking created to achieve desired learning outcomes. This learning does not occur through lectures and study, but through action followed by reflection.
Service learning refers to four different categories of educational experiences. Each category places different emphasis on the service and learning elements of the experience. Service learning experiences are designed to benefit both the recipient and the provider of the service as well as to ensure a balance between the service, and the learning and reflection.