NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ923731
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 11
ISSN: ISSN-0040-0912
Service-Learning and the Development of Empathy in US College Students
Wilson, Judy C.
Education & Training, v53 n2-3 p207-217 2011
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the influence of a service-learning experience on the personal development of college students, particularly focusing on the expression of empathy. Design/methodology/approach: Reflective writing papers were evaluated using a rubric with definitions for three types of understanding, as defined by Wiggins and McTighe in 2005, perspective, empathy, and self-knowledge. The results were analyzed using Fisher's exact test to determine if there were significant differences in the expression of these types of understanding between the service-learning group and the group that did not do service-learning. Findings: Students involved in the service-learning assignment were significantly (p less than 0.05) more likely to express empathy in their reflective writing than the students who did not participate in service-learning. There were no significant differences between the groups in the other two types of understanding. Research limitations/implications: This was a small study in two classes taught by the researcher so the findings are limited by these factors. The self-selection of the students into the two assignment groups also limits the conclusions that can be drawn from the findings. Practical implications: Personal development can be fostered by service-learning assignments that include opportunities to interact with people in need so that understanding through empathy is likely to be experienced. Originality/value: This study focused on the type of service-learning experiences that are likely to lead to experiencing empathy which contributes to personal development. This type of development is a component of the general education goals for undergraduates in the USA. (Contains 2 tables.)
Emerald. Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley, BD16 1WA, UK. Tel: 888-622-0075; Tel: +44-1274-777700; Fax: 617-354-6875; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States