Learning and identity processes in university service-learning: A theoretical review

David García Romero, José Luis Lalueza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

14 Citations (Scopus)


© 2019, Universidad Nacional de Educacion a Distancia. All rights reserved. Service-Learning (S-L) has expanded its scope in higher education in recent decades, increasing the number of programs implemented and centres that sustain them. This process has been accompanied by a development of research and the creation of new academic societies in the area. However, this scientific gathering has shown discrepancies in the way of understanding the basics of S-L. In this study, we analyse one of them: the diversity of conceptual models on the learning processes in S-L. We propose a critical discussion of the topic in order to contribute towards building a strong framework for S-L. For that purpose, we perform a bibliographic search on the topics of «process of learning» and «identity» in S-L, using the ERIC data base. From the articles found, we selected papers for an in-depth reading in order tofind the mainstream lines of research in S-L and to engage in discussion on the processes of learning and identity in current research. We examine similarities and discrepancies among three theories that we identified as nuclear in research on S-L: experiential learning, transformational learning and critical theories. Also, we add the historicalcultural framework as emerging. We elaborate our discussion in two blocks: processes of learning and processes of identity. Our analysis allows us to identity different processes in the analysed theoretical models. In our opinion, they show different models of learning present in S-L: reflection through experience, identity change trough otherness, agency taking through social consciousness and involvement in a community of practice through construction of shared meaning and motives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-68
JournalEducacion XX1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Higher education
  • Identity processes
  • Learning processes
  • Literature reviews
  • Service learning


Dive into the research topics of 'Learning and identity processes in university service-learning: A theoretical review'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this