Why is community-based learning a valued part of higher education?

Top Ten Reasons:

1. Community-based learning (CBL) increases the relevance of general education classes and theory-based classes. It grounds knowledge in meaningful experiences.

2. An important part of the mission of public universities is to educate students to be active citizens in a democratic society.

3. CBL increases understanding of community problems at a "personal, professional, and conceptual level." (University of Utah Lowell Bennion Center, 1995).

4. CBL increases understanding of how our world is interconnected (Boyer, 1990).

5. CLB results in stronger analytical and critical thinking skills and improved communication skills.

6. CBL offers students structured opportunities to work more closely with faculty, often improving learning and retention.

7. CBL students note that they gain deeper understanding of issues and feel more confident to use the information they had learned (Eyler and Giles, 1999).

8. CBL encourages greater student input and responsibility in deciding what and how they will learn (Vernon and Blake, 1993).

9. CBL often yields personal insight, growth, and values clarification; these are considered important aspects of student development.

10. CBL provides a way for students to make a difference in their communities as part of a relevant, credit-bearing class experience.