Hearing the voices of the voiceless: Service-learning and its impact on aspects of social awareness amongst nursing and optometry students | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 14, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1751-1917
  • E-ISSN: 1751-1925


This study involved nursing (NSG) and optometry (OPT) students from the School of Health Sciences (HS), Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), Singapore. It aimed to understand the effect of service-learning (SL) engagements on the social awareness of HSN and OPT students. The study examined two different modes of SL engagement: The first SL activity was a voluntary (outside of curriculum) Health and Eye Screening for migrant workers at their dormitory (N-118). The second SL activity was a compulsory (in-curriculum) social survey of foreign workers (FWs) (N-208) on their rest day outside of their dormitory. The quasi-experimental prepre test design was chosen where the two experimental groups served as their own control groups during the course of the research. The results of the study highlighted that not all SL activities were created equal in their impact on learning. Of the two experimental groups – Experimental Group 1 (compulsory) and Experimental Group 2 (voluntary), the nature of SL engagement indicated that there is a higher positive impact on the social awareness level of the former (Experimental Group 1). The mode of engagement is a very short engagement with the community-in-need (five hours). The results of this study help to throw up for discussion the potential benefits of a high-impact but extremely brief SL engagement by students. Pending further validation, this strategy might be a potential solution for educational institutions juggling the twin tensions of timetabling and meaningful SL activities to further their students’ learning experience.


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