Transforming Ourselves and Transforming Our Community: A Case Study of Learning Theory and Practice within Society of the Universal Learner in Bihar, India

Cooper, Elisa
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University of Guelph

This study used a participatory action research methodology organized around interviews and focus group discussions to examine the dynamics of learning within Society of the Universal Learner (SOUL), a community-based organization operating in Bihar, India. The study found that SOUL was already using a wide range of tools, strategies, and approaches to learn about complex questions related to rural education. The study participants had a strong understanding of system dynamics in relation to village-level education even though they did not explicitly use language and concepts from systems theory. This thesis concludes by presenting a framework that brings together systems thinking with SOUL’s practical experience and which can be used by organizations operating in resource-constrained settings to design or assess learning interventions.

organizational learning, complex systems, complex adaptive systems, India, Bihar, community-based organizations, community development, participatory action research, qualitative research, system dynamics, learning, organizations, capacity development, non-government organizations