Steps of Service-Learning

Promoting Quality Service-Learning Experiences

Based upon research and best practices gathered by Learn and Serve America, quality Service-Learning projects include six core components.  These components are often known as the “IPARDC” process for planning and implementing quality Service-Learning projects:
1. Investigation – Youth determine the needs in their community.  This might be accomplished by conducting a community needs assessment or another type of assessment.  Once a community need has been identified, young people conduct some form of research or investigation to document the extent and nature of the problem in their community.

2. Preparation– Youth share ideas to meet community needs and access available resources, discuss what they can do to help, and how they can make it happen.  This step may also include developing a common vision, timelines for success, a project budget, etc.

3. Action– The service portion of Service-Learning.  To make the project more purposeful and meaningful, youth take on leadership roles and are actively involved in all parts of the service project. 

4. Reflection– Youth participate in and lead activities that allow them to assess their accomplishments, to examine the impact of their work in the community, and to consider how they could improve their action plan for future projects.

5. Demonstration & Celebration–Youth celebrate their successes and educate others on what they have learned, the impact of their work, and recommendations for future projects.


For more detailed information regarding the steps of Service-Learning, check out Learn and Serve America's Service-Learning toolkit.
Reach Out Iowa staff are also available to provide Service-Learning trainings, orientations, and resources for your youth group, even if you are not a 4-H club.  For more information, contact a Reach Out Iowa Coordinator today!

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