Heffernan (2001) offers six models to consider when designing a service-learning course. Whether creating a new course or reconstructing an existing course to incorporate service-learning pedagogy, choosing an appropriate model will help to ensure the purposes and goals of service-learning are attained:
"Pure" Service-Learning courses adopt as their intellectual core the idea of service and community engagement. Such courses are not content-specific to a particular academic discipline, but prepare students with the knowledge, skills, and competencies necessary for community engagement.
Discipline-Based Service-Learning courses engage students in reflection on their service experience regularly using discipline-based course content as a basis for their analysis and understanding.
Problem-Based Service-Learning courses engage students in service with community members to understand a particular problem or need and prepare students with the knowledge necessary to make recommendations to the community.
Capstone Courses ask students to draw upon knowledge developed throughout their course work and combine it with relevant service with the community.
Service Internships generally engage students in a more intensive time requirement and require students to produce a body of work that is of value to the community or site. Unlike traditional internships, service internships incorporate ongoing reflection using discipline-based theories in small groups or one-on-one meeting with faculty advisors.
Community-Based Action Research engages the researcher(s) in working side by side with the community to co-construct research questions and methods, collaboratively implement the research design, and adopt shared responsibility for the application of research findings.