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Employers are increasingly demanding graduates with industry-ready communication, decision-making, problem-solving, leadership, emotional intelligence and social ethics skills. Community-based learning (CBL) has been identified as a pedagogical approach which has tremendous potential to produce graduates with these attributes; its prominent role in the future of Ireland's third level landscape is outlined in the Irish National Strategy for Higher Education (Hunt, 2011). However, for many early-career lecturers, distilling the insights from the teaching and learning literature, and then producing a well-designed CBL module, can be an intimidating task. What is missing is a primer which presents the core ideas of CBL in a way which is independent of subject-specific jargon. Ideally, this primer should provide the reader with the means of either drafting an initial project plan, or at the very least, knowing where to go to look for more answers. This project aims to meet this gap. The success of a CBL experience relies on considering a number of factors: thorough planning, critical reflection, effective project management, assessment and effective evaluation of the project. We provide the reader with the means of getting started, by highlighting the unique aspects of a CBL project. We discuss the challenges that arise as a result of the interaction of many different parties. Finally, we explore assessment strategies for a CBL project and provide a road-map for implementing CBL which integrates these issues in a way that is independent of any one subject area.
Bedri, Z., de Fréin, R., & Dowling, G. (2017) Community-based Learning: A Primer. Dublin: Technological University Dublin.