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Effectiveness of Service Learning and Learning through Service in Dietetics Education

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Abstract:

Positive assessments of service learning as a teaching methodology have stimulated colleges and universities to adopt service learning in their curricula. This study was undertaken to determine whether service learning could be implemented effectively as a teaching methodology in dietetics education. A total of 49 undergraduate students who were enrolled in Nutrition for the Aging course participated in a service learning project. During 5 weeks of the service learning project, students interacted with and assisted clients of the federal Elderly Nutrition Program (Title IIIc). Orientation to the project, reflection on the experience, and evaluation were important components of this project. Evaluation indicated that service learning was an effective teaching method in the dietetics curriculum. Students reported that they were able to integrate the classroom content with real-life experience and learned more while doing so. Service learning had a positive effect on learning by bringing additional personal, professional, and spiritual context to the subject content taught in the classroom and on an understanding of community resources and needs.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-12-01

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  • The Journal of Allied Health is the official publication of the Association of Schools of Allied Health Professions (ASAHP). The Journal is the only interdisciplinary allied health periodical, publishing scholarly works related to research and development, feature articles, research abstracts and book reviews. Readers of the Journal comprise allied health leaders, educators, faculty and students.
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