What is Community-Based Learning and Action?
Community-based learning is an intentional linking of course content with the activities in the community designed to improve the lives of disadvantaged groups, through service provision, advocacy, justice, solidarity, organizing, development and research. This pedagogical approach is not simply an addition to a course; it is explicitly intended to enhance a student’s learning of curriculum content.
Benefits of Community-Based Learning and Action
By taking the classroom beyond the campus and into the community, faculty can:
- Increase teaching repertoire including the utilization of small group work and journals and the incorporation of experiential learning;
- Collaborate on the development of integrated curriculum and assessment;
- Increase contact with students, particularly freshmen, first-time to college students;
- Increase their knowledge of current research and theory in relevant areas including cultural sensitivity, civic engagement, experiential learning and critical thinking and first-year programs;
- Participate in and present at professional organizations and pursue research in the above fields;
- Gain knowledge of and make connections to the local community and its organizations and integrate this knowledge with academic content;
- Gain new perspectives and increase understanding of learning by utilizing small group in-class discussions and ongoing involvement in assessment;
- Increase awareness of community issues and their relationship to instructors' academic interests;
- Identify current social and student learning issues that might inform research; and
- Provide opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration.