Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2014


To ensure that students are prepared for positions in the construction industry, construction management education programs expose students to industry relevant construction management (CM) theory and practice. Traditional transmission teaching methodologies, while arguably effective for teaching management theory and practice, are not as effective for the transfer of practical leadership skills and knowledge of construction specific processes. As an alternative teaching strategy, many CM programs incorporate service-learning (S-L) into curricula; providing students practical experience, focusing on the acquisition of knowledge through goal setting, thinking, planning, experimentation, observation, and reflection.

However, from a practical standpoint, the development of a service-learning project can be a daunting task for the educator. Beyond determining a suitable project, a great deal of work must be undertaken to ensure a successful learning experience for the learner, as well as a successful project for the project owner or community partner. Processes must be put in place to ensure that the project is well developed, the student is practicing relevant CM skills, the project is completed in a timely manner to the satisfaction of the owner, and that the student learns through active reflection.

Thus, this paper is presented not as a project specific case study, but an attempt to simplify for CM educators the development of CM S-L projects and to provide a step-by-step process to facilitate a successful learning experience.

Copyright Statement

This document was originally published in International Journal for Service Learning in Engineering by Pennsylvania State University. This work is provided under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Details regarding the use of this work can be found at: