Contextualized-OLPC education project in rural India: measuring learning impact and mediation of computer self-efficacy

  • Komathi Ale
  • Yvonne Ai-Chi Loh
  • Arul Chib
Cultural and Regional Perspectives


The One Laptop per Child (OLPC) initiative has been at the forefront of introducing low-cost computers in developing countries. We argue that the problem is not as much as a focus on the provision of affordable technologies, but the lack of consideration of deeply contextualized implementation design and the lack of understanding of psychological mechanisms at the user-level that influence learning impact. A longitudinal quasi-experimental design among nine rural Indian primary schools involved pre- and post- experiment measures conducted with both test (n = 126) and control groups (n = 79). The study objective was to prioritize local contexts during technology implementation design in order to attain educational impact in terms of improved learning outcomes for students. The Contextualized-OLPC education project utilized strategies identified by the Technology-Community-Management model to address contextually germane factors of teacher training, unbiased gender access, and local language use. A second objective was to assess impact of technology introduction while countering extant techno-determinist approaches of impact assessment. We first demonstrated that technological knowledge was associated positively with functional literacy. We situated the experiment in the social cognitive theory to demonstrate that computer self-efficacy mediates the relationship between technological literacy attained as a consequence of the Contextualized-OLPC education project and a specific learning outcome, functional literacy. Overall, the research illustrated that giving primacy to mere deployment of OLPC laptops has limited relevance to children, both in use and outcome. In support, the results demonstrated the role of contextualized technology in rural classrooms alongside an understanding of user psychology that influence learning impact.


ICT Education Computer self-efficacy Evaluation Contextualized implementation 



The authors are grateful to the local team from Unified Development and Academic Activities Network (UDAAN) Foundation. We are especially thankful to UDAAN’s Founder and Chairperson, Dr. Veena Sethi, for her tremendous support to make this ICTD research study in India possible. We also wish to thank OLPC India for its support. This work was supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) under the SIRCA Grant administered by the Singapore Internet Research Centre (SiRC).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Nanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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