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Research Articles

Vol. 25 No. 1

Increasing Learning While Serving the Community: Student Engagement as the Key to Learning in a Basic Public Speaking Course

May 8, 2020


Despite the significant amount of research published regarding the effect of service-learning on attitudinal measures such as empathy and civic engagement, little is known about how service-learning influences direct student learning outcomes. This pilot study employed a repeated measures, quasi-experimental design with a comparison group to compare cognitive and behavioral learning outcomes of students in two courses: a service-learning public speaking course (n = 84) and a traditionally taught public speaking course (n = 92). No significant differences were revealed between service-learning and non-service-learning students on measures of cognitive learning. However, service-learning student groups significantly outperformed their non-service-learning counterparts on measures of behavioral learning (application/performance of a skill). The article concludes by addressing issues uncovered in this pilot project and offering suggestions for additional research.