Community Based Learning
What is Community-based Learning?
Community-based Learning (CBL) allows students the opportunity to work and learn in a community environment, and to apply what they learn in the classroom to real-world situations. Community-based Learning is a broad term that encompasses a variety of teaching and learning strategies, including the following:
- Experiential learning
- Service learning
- Apprenticeships and internships that enhance and reinforce learning
- Practicum and capstone projects that connects learning with activity in the community
It is connected. CBL courses connect theory and classroom experiences with real-world application and observation.
It is integrated. CBL activities are designed to support, illustrate, and enhance the learning outcomes of the course.
It is reflective. CBL activities require a chance to pause and reflect on what was observed, experienced and learned. We all need time to make connections and understand how to integrate our various experiences.
It is outside. Whether students venture into the field, the forests, the community, an organization, a core component is that something relevant to learning happens outside the walls of the classroom. This is true even when a real-world issue is brought from the outside into the classroom for students to solve, with input from members of the community.
SOU values Community-based Learning, because we value the community in which we all live and work. We believe it is crucial that our graduates leave SOU with the skills, the ability, and the inclination to serve the greater good.
What CBL is not --
Field trips or activities that are "add ons" and not reflected upon or do not relate to the learning outcomes of the course.
Serving time in an outside agency.
Activities without clear learning expectations and outcomes.
How do I know if I'm teaching a CBL class?
If your class includes the following essential elements, then you ARE teaching a CBL class!
Part of your course requirements are that students engage with an outside agency, the environment, a real-world problem, or an experience outside of the classroom.
This experience, whatever it is, enhances, supports, or reinforces the learning goals of your course.
This learning experience is one of the things students are evaluated on for their final grade.
You discuss and reflect upon the experience and what student's gained from it during your class.
Students have tasks that have clear goals, meet genuine needs, and have significant consequences for themselves, other people, the environments, animals, etc.
Students must be prepared for the experience so that they understand their role, the skills and information required, safety precautions, and sensitivity to the people they meet in the community.