UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Designing good global service-learning projects in challenging contexts : a case study Bourne, Cynthia


This case study explored how an intentional design thinking process, reflected in a set of project design principles, influenced the outcomes of a global service-learning (GSL) project for teacher candidates situated in the challenging context of rural Ghana, West Africa. While GSL in such settings can contribute to both a teacher candidate’s professional learning and satisfy a community need (Bringle & Hatcher, 2011; Hartman, Paris, & Blache-Cohen, 2014; Jagla, 2016), there tends to be increased risks for all participants. Critics argue universities must pay closer attention to how such experiences are designed and consider intentional ways to create good GSL projects - projects that are worth doing for all concerned (Bamber & Pike, 2013; Chapman, 2016; Epprecht, 2004; Esteva, 2010; Pluim & Jorgenson, 2012; Tiessen, 2007; 2012). The 18 participants in this study included nine teacher candidates and nine in-country partners. The research probed the extent to which intentional design influenced the lived experience of the participants in a GSL literacy project situated in two rural schools. Data was gathered through a variety of research methods – participant observations, surveys, individual and focus group interviews, discussion sheets, student reflective journals. Data was analyzed using two processes - Goffman’s (1974) frames and codes and Argyris a Schon’s (1974; 1978) Gap Analysis. The findings from this study suggest intentional design can contribute to good GSL projects and advance student learning while addressing a specified need. At the participant level, the findings suggest learning and contribution are possible through service learning, but also illustrate the importance of ensuring the values of reciprocity, respect, and reflection are central to the design. At the institutional level, the findings from this study inform a framework to guide the work of instructors, course designers, and administrators when designing learning experiences in challenging contexts. Key words Global service-learning, design thinking, intentional design, challenging contexts, teacher education.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International