University Service-Learning in physical activity and sport. Opportunity for social inclusion (Activat@s)

Project data:

    • Call: 2019 State Programs for the Generation of Knowledge and Scientific and Technological Strengthening of the R+D+i call. Oriented to the Challenges of Society, within the framework of the State Plan for Scientific and Technical Research and Innovation 2017-2020.
    • Funding: Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness.
    • Participating entities: Autonomous University of Madrid, University of Granada, University of Valladolid, Ramon Llull University, University of the Basque Country, University of La Laguna, Jaume I University, Catholic University of Temuco and University of Valparaiso.
    • Reference: PID2019-105916RB-I00
    • PI: Mª Luisa Santos Pastor (Autonomous University of Madrid) and Pedro Enrique Rivera García (University of Granada)
    • Number of participating researchers: 22
    • Duration: 05/30/2023 – 06/01/2020

Project summary: 

Nowadays, society demands greater participation and involvement of Universities in major social challenges. If the university wants to meet these requirements, it must aspire to redefine the functions entrusted to it: teaching, research and social commitment. In this framework, the University Service Learning stands as a pedagogical model that can respond to this purpose, insofar as it has as protagonists the three vertices of change: university students, teaching and research staff, and social groups. The former will have the opportunity to learn instrumental and transversal competences in real contexts; the latter will act as mediators for change and the third will be able to participate in society, empowering themselves thanks to the learning provided by the University.

In the framework described, our object of study aspires to facilitate the social inclusion of underprivileged groups through Service-Learning focused on Physical Activity and Sport.

From the stated objective, the project aims to investigate these questions: What is the impact of the University Service Learning on each of the agents involved? What indicators can help us evaluate the quality of the practices carried out in this area? Is it feasible to draw up a guide that helps the various groups to design and develop quality actions related to Physical Activity and Sport for groups at social risk through Service-Learning?

Based on these questions, the following objectives are specified:

  • Assess in the agents involved the impact of the University Service Learning projects in Physical Activity and Sport with groups in a situation of socioeconomic vulnerability as a tool for their social inclusion.
  • Detect and delimit the indicators of good practices of University Service Learning in Physical Activity and Sport for groups in situations of socioeconomic vulnerability as a tool for their social inclusion.
  • Prepare a Guide of Recommendations for University Service Learning projects in Physical Activity and Sport in groups in situations of socioeconomic vulnerability for their social inclusion.

Methodologically, an evaluative research design is proposed to respond to the defined objectives. Regarding the context of the research, it focuses on ten universities belonging to RIADIS (Research Network on Service-Learning in Physical Activity and Sport for Social Inclusion). Data collection tools include questionnaires, interviews, and focus groups among others. By having a large and expert research team, the analysis at a quantitative and qualitative level is fully guaranteed.

The ultimate intention is to emphasize the inclusive potential of Service-Learning programs in Physical Activity and Sport, as well as their educational, social, cultural and political projection in order to achieve a more just society.