Regardless of Role: A Community Engagement Festival as a Unique Space for Differentiated Learning Outcomes for Student Leaders and Participants
Living-Learning Programmes (LLPs) in Residential Colleges (RCs) foster leadership, learning and sense of belonging amongst students. Any community engagement or service-learning initiative that takes place in such a context would benefit from the unique outcomes of LLPs. Building on this principle, we argue that the Community Engagement Festival (CE Fest), a unique, student-led, flagship event of a RC in an Asian university, functions as a platform to develop a diverse range of benefits amongst students involved in the programme – both student leaders, who design and execute CE Fest, and students who are participants in the event. This assertion is tested through: (1) analysis of the types of learning outcomes achieved by both groups of students; and (2) analysis of the features of CE Fest that enable the development of these learning outcomes. We employ the validated SErvice LEarning Benefit (SELEB) scale to capture the range of benefits experienced by both groups of students. A factor analysis of all 20 benefits in the SELEB scale found three categories of benefits: (i) civic consciousness, (ii) skills, and (iii) interpersonal relationships. A means comparison found that civic consciousness was the most successfully achieved learning outcome by both student leaders and participants alike, which aligns with the ethos of the RC. Additionally, student leaders were more likely than participants to have achieved outcomes related to skills and interpersonal relationships. Triangulation of the findings from the survey with qualitative data collected from student leaders and participants indicates that various structures and processes of CE Fest facilitated the development of specific outcomes, such as empathy and civic consciousness. As such, CE Fest is a unique learning space within LLPs that offers differentiated learning opportunities for students across various roles, while ensuring civic consciousness remains a central benefit to all students regardless of the nature of their participation.
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