In recent years, higher education has lost its monopoly on the transmission of specialized knowledge. In response, it has sought to expand its contribution to society in areas such as equipping students with practical skills and fostering social engagement. New pedagogical approaches such as service-learning emphasize the importance of these new directions. However, a question arises: In this context, what role should be played by specialized knowledge and its acquisition? It is generally accepted that theoretical learning should not take place in a parallel, self-contained universe, isolated from practical concerns and social commitment, and therefore we must examine how these processes interact. Accordingly, this article analyzes the content learning processes of students participating in service-learning experiences. The results obtained show a diversity in the roles that curricular concepts play, ranging from mere definitions oriented to evaluation to tools for reflection and action in practice.