Evaluating the complexity of service-learning practices: lessons from and for complex systems theory

Burton, S., Hutchings, S. ORCID: 0000-0002-4303-6607, Lundy, C. ORCID: 0000-0002-6087-1161 and Lyons-Lewis, A., 2019. Evaluating the complexity of service-learning practices: lessons from and for complex systems theory. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 23 (3), pp. 89-103. ISSN 1534-6102

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Abstract

This paper will examine the intersection of service-learning with complex systems theory. It is based on a research project we undertook to explore whether complex system theory might be useful for better understanding the dynamics of service-learning practice, and thus for assisting in the design,running and evaluation of service-learning projects. Additionally, we were interested to find out whether the specifics of our service-learning experience and knowledge, what we refer to as 'critical service-learning', might have something of value to contribute to the interdisciplinary and ever broadening paradigm of complexity studies. Our findings respond to these two tasks in the affirmative: complex systems theory, we conclude, can be of benefit to service-learning practice in a conceptual, operational and strategic capacity; and conversely, those instances where our critical service-learning practice initially appear to be incongruent with complex systems theory in fact highlight precisely how service-learning could advance the analysis of systems in complexity studies.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement
Creators: Burton, S., Hutchings, S., Lundy, C. and Lyons-Lewis, A.
Publisher: Institute of Higher Education, University of Georgia
Date: 2019
Volume: 23
Number: 3
ISSN: 1534-6102
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Depositing User: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 26 Sep 2019 10:12
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2020 09:40
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/37789

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