How to involve, motivate and sustain students in service learning programs

J.Y. Wu, P. Wang, Y. Cao, Q.Y. Huang, Vincent To Yee Ng

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic research


In recent years, service learning has gained much attention among universities as a complementary form of teaching and learning. Despite the popularity of such programs, very often, service learning activities have no standard framework and hence suffer from problems such as lacking attractiveness and sustainability. This essay therefore seeks to provide insights on key elements that could contribute to a high quality service learning program that emphasizes student involvement and sustainability.||In the past 6 years, as a student run service learning organization in Hong Kong, we have delivered more than 24 service trip projects with more than 300 student volunteers participated, serving 22 target schools in mainland China and Taiwan. From both our experience and a recent survey carried out among project participants, we suggest that an attractive and sustainable service learning project should first be able to present high quality program content that generates profound social impact. Next, the program should provide team members sufficient autonomy in designing the program contents themselves. Lastly, the bonding of the students themselves is crucial. It assures commitment, sharing, and sustainability from one batch to another, and ultimately creates unique experience, inspires minds, and stimulates positive long-term impacts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 1st International Conference on Service-Learning, Nov 20-21, 2014, Hong Kong
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event1st International Conference on Service-Learning [ICSL] - , Hong Kong
Duration: 20 Nov 201421 Nov 2014


Conference1st International Conference on Service-Learning [ICSL]
Country/TerritoryHong Kong


  • Student involvement
  • Service learning sustainability
  • Program quality
  • Organization autonomy
  • Student bonding


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