Students’ Emotional Experiences in Direct Versus Indirect Academic Service-Learning Courses

Alexa Darby


Research in psychology has emphasized the important role emotions play in learning (Pekrun, 1992). The purpose of the study highlighted in this article was to compare the emotional experiences of college students enrolled in direct academic service-learning (AS-L) courses with those of students enrolled in indirect AS-L courses. Eighteen college students participated in individual interviews, discussing positive and negative emotions resulting from their AS-L experiences. Students who engaged in direct AS-L reported significant emotional responses to interactions with people at their AS-L site. Students who engaged in indirect AS-L courses emphasized their emotional responses to working with peers and community partners. Participants in direct service-learning classes made very few references to the emotional aspects of discussions, assignments, or other activities that occurred in class, while college students in indirect service-learning classes more frequently reported emotional responses to the coursework.


service-learning, college students, emotions

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