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Learning from a free‐access digital information kiosk in Africa: An objectivist – constructivist investigation

Johannes C. Cronjé (University of Pretoria, South Africa)
Dirk Burger (University of Pretoria, South Africa)

Aslib Proceedings

ISSN: 0001-253X

Article publication date: 1 May 2006



The purpose of this paper is to consider the type of learning that takes place if members of an under‐resourced community are exposed to a free‐to‐use computer that is connected to the internet.


Qualitative application of an instrument that was developed to evaluate the information resource for the extent to which it facilitates both objectivist and constructivist learning. Video recordings of the interactions of people at the information kiosk were viewed and transcribed, and subjected to classical analysis to answer the questions posed by the instrument.


It was found that this particular information resource contained both objectivist and constructivist elements. Furthermore, it was found that objectivism and constructivism are complementary to one another and the degree of integration varies according to certain pedagogical dimensions. An open‐access information portal affords opportunities both for direct instruction and constructivist learning.

Research limitations/implications

Based in a peri‐urban environment in South Africa with a small sample.

Practical implications

The main contribution of this study is to investigate the interaction between information, knowledge, learning and pedagogy, which will help the information designer to better understand these interactions when designing an information resource. Furthermore, the instrument developed for this study can be used to evaluate other information resources, thus ultimately improving the standard of such resources.


The paper proposes a solution to the age‐old objectivist/constructivist debate that prevails when considering the cognitive functioning of information users.



Cronjé, J.C. and Burger, D. (2006), "Learning from a free‐access digital information kiosk in Africa: An objectivist – constructivist investigation", Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 58 No. 3, pp. 218-236.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited