Understanding the learning experience from voluntary work

'Inside-outside' learning: understanding the learning experience from voluntary work as part of credit-bearing study

Team Members:  Dr Marion Smith, Verionica Adamson


Aims: The project aims to achieve detailed understanding of the nature of the student learning experience when undertaking voluntary work for a credit-bearing year 1 option course.  The course is intended to encourage the development of practical skills and personal qualities through experiential learning, and students then connect this to independent study of academic materials. 

Methodology: This learning is supported through discussion and teaching input in the classroom.  The project feeds into the University Strategic Plan and Learning and Teaching Enhancement Strategy in various ways through the course’s strong connections to social responsibility, local community, innovative course delivery, and enhancing graduate attributes. The costs and benefits to the partner charities involved and administrative issues in running the course will also be reviewed.  These latter questions will only be tackled in a preliminary way to provide a platform for further, more tailored investigation including potential scale of such courses, at a later date.  Project results will inform our understanding of ultimate value of integrating voluntary work within student learning experiences, examining what works well and what could be improved.   It will also provide guidance for further development of community engagement courses both within the home degree programme (MA Health, Science and Society) and as a potential model for other degree programmes across the University.

Final Project Report may be downloaded from here