In community-based learning, there is the provision of numerous educational methods which teachers use to associate/link the subject of discourse to the student’s communal experience. Some of these educational methods include institutions, literature, history, cultural history, etc.
The pedagogical approach of community-based learning depends on the premise that the most insightful knowledge usually comes from experience, supported by foundational know-how, context-providing, guidance, and intellectual analysis. CBL allows students the opportunity to bring thoughtful ideas and know-how based on their social communication and personal observation to their courses, which adds depth to their learning experience and the course contents.
Community-based learning is also inspired by the belief that all communities possess specific inherent educational resources and assets that educators can use to improve their students’ learning experiences.
Community-based learning is driven by mutually beneficial and reciprocal partnerships between students, teachers, and community groups. The goal is to blend academic learning with community engagement to address community-related requirements and eventually generate positive social change. A vital component of community-based learning is critical reflection. This improves students’ knowledge of course content while helping them better understand the community and develop a sense of civic responsibility.
Purposefully and thoughtfully designed community-based learning brings multiple benefits for students. Some of these are learning collaborative and cooperative approaches, improved grasp on academic content, enhanced emotional intelligence and self-efficacy, and learning higher-order skills like critical thinking and writing.
To be considered as a CBL course, three key criteria need to be fulfilled.
The first one is civic and community engagement. A community-based learning course can pave the way for civic learning through three types of activities. Firstly, it can facilitate a reciprocal exchange of resources or knowledge with an on-campus program/department or a community partner through seminars, workshops, career exploration, service-learning, etc. Secondly, it can encourage civic action by making the students take action or raise awareness on a matter of public concern among the people on campus, a particular audience, or the general public. Thirdly, it can provide creative works, community-based participatory research, or a public scholarship to a community partner or public audience.
The second criterion a CBL course needs to meet is the integration of academic coursework with community engagement. This can be made possible by ensuring there’s a clear link between the course subject matter and community engagement.
Thirdly, a CBL course should include at least two student learning outcomes linked to the community-based learning component.