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The Agapé Center for Service and Learning

Integrative Developmental Model for Contextual LearningAgape Center



This model serves as a vehicle for articulating to constituents the comprehensive nature of our work with students, and our commitment toward their holistic growth and developments.


The proposed developmental model for contextual learning will serve to:

  • Create contextual settings that serve as catalysts for student reflection on personal commitment and core values
  • Provide early and continuous support as students seek to clarify personal giftedness and vocational calling
  • Move beyond simulations to authentic, reality-based experiences that immerse students in the real world of work
  • Partner with alumni in providing more frequent and varied off-campus opportunities in which students can test their vocational call
  • Strengthen the triadic relationship between the College, our students, and community partners and/or employers


Core Concepts
The developmental model for conceptual learning:

  • Assumes that students move through a series of steps or stages in the course of their personal academic maturity
  • Is cyclical, not linear, in its conception
  • May or may not correspond with students' chronological age or class status
  • Has parallel applications to individual External Programs, despite their unique attributes and foci
  • Is enhanced through strategic placement of experiential learning opportunities over the course of a student's college career, along with their corollary provisions for reflection and integration


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Foundational World View: Basic Beliefs, Values and Assumptions
Our Christian world view becomes the primary filter or lens that informs our work.

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Contextual Learning: Experiential Education in Authentic Settings
Student learning in our program happens primarily off-campus, in authentic real-life settings that are intimately intertwined with the subject matter under study.

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Awareness of Self: Discovering Who I Am
External program settings provide unique opportunities for students to test and clarify personal identity and giftedness. By expanding former boundaries of personal and cultural identity, students are typically empowered to tackle new challenges and life goals.

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Knowledge of the World: Exploring the World, its Needs and Opportunities
Perhaps the most effective way to appreciate the complexities of life beyond a traditional college campus is to become immersed in the world beyond its gates. Structured and reflective learning aids students in better understanding and responding to needs and opportunities outside their comfort zones.

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Decision and Action: Clarifying and Acting on a Sense of Vocational Purpose, Service, and Social Responsibility
Testing gifts and interests while still in college through a variety of venues like externships, community service, or study at a foreign university aids students in clarifying long-term vocational goals. Such opportunities can help deepen their sense of vocational purpose, and social and civic responsibility.