Tips for Combining Project-Based and Service Learning

We must have heard that until or unless a student learns to use the teachings of the school in his own life and serve others, he hasn’t gained anything. The aforementioned sentence is the ultimate aim of anyone’s life. What is the use of knowledge until it isn’t used in a right way?

What is service learning? Service learning is defined as the teaching given to the students as a worthy action to teach them more than just teaching regular subjects. It aims to create and instil compassion and empathy in the students. Coming to the project-based learning or commonly called as PBL, it is quite similar to it as they both focus on authenticity and meaningful action. They both aim to create the impact on the students to serve the larger community with the learning.

Now, the issue is to combine both of them together. Here are some tips for how to create a project-based learning project keeping a focus on the service learning.

  1. Assess the community needs

In general, students and taught and they have to take a test to prove themselves. But, do they learn anything? Do they have a thirst to know more? Or just mug up and vomit in the paper? These are important points to be discussed while combining the PBL and service learning together. There should be local partnerships for the teachers and students to help them focus on the service learning and project work. The students should be given to do surveys which will help them to understand and assess the community data, history, and another history. This will make them focus on the needs of the community, this is the way to execute “Need to know” in PBL.

  1. Align Content and Skills

It’s always has been going on like teachers choosing the subject for the students and hence the huge syllabus on them. What if they have being asked about the subjects they are interested in? Or what do they want to learn? I’m sure that the children are the ones to choose the best for them. And if it happens, there will be always a huge interest to learn ahead and undoubtedly, the outcomes will be tremendous. To create a sense of civic duty, responsibility, critical thinking, the combined PBL and service learning has helped a lot.

  1. Learn From Each Other

Teaching and learning are not one way process. It’s not only the students who learn but they teach us many things also. The knowledge sharing is always reciprocal. Hence, the students learn from the audience and the audience learn from them. It’s important to instil the power of listening and having empathy for the audience in the students.

  1. Reflect is the key

Again, the same discussion, there’s no use of the knowledge if it’s not reflected in your actions. Reflection being the key component of PBL, it teaches the students to reflect during the project in various way. It’s important to know what the students feel too. Not only in terms of content but also in terms of respect, empathy, civic duty towards the society, they should understand and internalize the learning and convert into meaningful actions.

  1. Action Plan is important

PBL has an action plan of teaching the students to be self-reliant. PBL leverages the student-centred tools to let them learn to manage themselves. Team working assignments, task lists and other alike works are given to them to do to help them to manage the tasks by themselves.

  1. Celebrate Success

Celebration comes and goes. But the memories do leave imprints in the projects. Try to involve the students in the celebrations of the success. Try to throwing get-togethers, photo shoots or anything that might cheer them up before the project starts or in the middle or in the completion of the projects.

Service learning and PBL are not newbies in the town. Teachers and students have been doing amazing projects that has served that society where we all survive. With this note, we all hope to see a better future of the students.


Author Bio: My name is Sohail. I’m a blogger and a staff writer at My hobbies include writing, reading books, traveling and gardening.