Trends of e-learning research from 2000 to 2008: Use of text mining and bibliometrics

Jui-long Hung
British Journal of Educational Technology (2010)

This study investigated the longitudinal trends of e-learning research using text mining techniques. Six hundred and eighty-nine (689) refereed journal articles and proceedings were retrieved from the Science Citation Index/Social Science Citation Index database in the period from 2000 to 2008. All e-learning publications were grouped into two domains with four groups/15 clusters based on abstract analysis. Three additional variables: subject areas, prolific countries and prolific journals were applied to data analysis and data interpretation. Conclusions include that e-learning research is at the early majority stage and foci have shifted from issues of the effectiveness of e-learning to teaching and learning practices. Educational studies and projects and e-learning application in medical education and training are growing fields with the highest potential for future research. Approaches to e-learning differ between leading countries and early adopter countries, and government policies play an important role in shaping the results.

Definitons of e-learning x 2

Conole and Oliver (2007) grouped e-learning research into four themes: pedagogical, technical, organisational and wider socio-cultural factors:
  • Pedagogical research revolved around the pedagogy of e-learning and development of effective implementation models.
  • Technical research discussed the development of technical architectures to support different forms of learning and teaching.
  • Organisational research focused on organisational-level issues for developing successful learning organisations.
  • Socio-cultural factors research cut across pedagogical, technical and organisational issues, focusing on the influence of policy drivers and funding steers, current or local agendas and initiatives.

Subject area: A majority of published e-learning studies focused on two subject areas: computer science (46.22%) and Education (31.22%). Additional studies were conducted in fields like medical education (7.70%), engineering (6.08%), library science (5.41%) and others (2.16%).