Practical Value of the Systems-based Evolutionary Learning Laboratory in Solving Complex Community Problems in Vietnam

Tuan M. Ha, Ockie J.H. Bosch, Nam C. Nguyen


This paper provides initial reflections on the practical value of the systems-based Evolutionary Learning Laboratory (ELLab) through a case study on improving the quality of life for women smallholder farmers in rural Haiphong, northern Vietnam. The first five steps were implemented during 2013-2014 providing valuable results that have made both practical and theoretical contributions with substantial implications to community development. The approach and framework helped to identify and engaged right stakeholders in problem analyses and decision making activities. Fuzzy problems within the complex web of life of the women and rural households were uncovered using relevant systems tools through a guided ELLab process. The ELLab helped to build capacity of local people for taking ownership of the process and outcomes to guarantee sustainability and long-term impacts. It also facilitated true participation and co-learning amongst stakeholders, making transformative learning occur. Contributions to action research are discussed.


Action research; Co-learning; Stakeholders; Systems approaches; Transformative learning; True participation.

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