Service learning (SL) and e-service learning (eSL or vSL) are pedagogical approaches in which students work actively in multidisciplinary networks with real-life problems. Even though the learning takes place outside the classroom walls, it is strongly related to the curriculum. (Practical guide on e-Service-Learning in response to COVID-19, 2020.) Service learning and e-service learning deepen what has been learned on a practical level, which is crucial in many sectors such as creative industries. The key to learning is to be able to work actively with the challenges and opportunities of real life. Service learning and e-service learning are approaches that blurs the boundaries of traditional education, and where competence and learning is recognized in a new way. (Practical guide on e-Service-Learning in response to COVID-19, 2020.)
What separates e-service learning from traditional service learning is the strong utilization of digital methods, tools, and environments. In e-service learning, activities are either partly or entirely in digital environments. Thus, digital tools enable, for example, activities without geographical restrictions (Waldner, McGorry & Widener 2012). It can be said that e-service learning has developed as part of a wider social development, during which the importance of digital methods, platforms and technology has begun to be emphasized. The change was further accelerated by the COVID 19 pandemic, during which the use of digital methods increased even more. All in all, it is known that the use of digital methods and platforms in working life is an increasingly important part of working life skills.
E-service learning is great opportunity to learn by doing, get supported and working life-oriented experience. Hence it is good to pay attention to planning the implementation. It is important to ensure that the student receives, for example, sufficient support and feels that she or he is part of the team, even though working remotely. To improve learning experience, e-service learning also includes guidance and reflection (Practical guide on e-Service-Learning in response to COVID-19, 2020). In addition, according to Michael J. Figuccio (2020) “In e-service-learning, students have regular contact with their instructor, peers, and community partner”. E-service learning is both guided and supported activity at its best, but it is also an opportunity for students to network.