Service Learning: Opportunities for Deep Learning in Fashion Design and Merchandising Education
Service Learning is the new buzz word on college campuses today, and many programs lack strategic course design nor build in a reflection component to ensure or at least attempt to engineer “deep learning” for their participants. The creation of service learning opportunities requires planning, implementation and evaluation of course design, as well as creating community partnerships that can withstand the test of time. This paper will explore the two major service learning opportunities that have been developed for fashion majors, and their impact on the students that have participated.
One of the courses has taken place in Guatemala working with indigenous women for the past three years, and attempts to take traditional weaving skills and apply them to contemporary fashion items that can be sold for a “fair labor wage”. Students spend time in the classroom learning at their home campus as well as time in Guatemala, working and learning with the Mayan women.
The second course was developed around the philanthropic arm of the pediatric oncology unit of the university’s medical campus, ASK. Students created the print or surface design for a pajama or loungewear item that would be developed in the following semester. The loungewear items were “port friendly” allowing young patients an alternative to a hospital gown as well as an item of clothing designed specifically to adapt for receiving chemotherapy without the removal of their clothing.
This paper will compare and contrast the planning process, the implementation and the community and learning outcomes of both of these projects.
Keywords: Service Learning, Fashion Education, Deep Learning, Course Design
Chairperson, Department of Fashion Design and Merchandising