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Recurrent Themes in E-Learning: A Narrative Analysis of Major E-Learning Reports

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Quarterly Review of Distance Education Volume 5, Number 3, ISSN 1528-3518


E-learning, sometimes referred to as online learning, Web-based learning, distance learning, and technology-based learning, among other names, is a concept that has garnered significant global attention. This broad attention to e-learning has resulted in numerous e-learning reports. In doing extensive Web searches for e-learning reports, the researchers estimate that more than 250 e-learning reports, excluding white papers, have been released worldwide over the last 3 years by governments, business, academia, and professional associations. This article presents a narrative analysis of 15 e-learning reports which altogether contained 1,169 pages. This study is the first part of a three-phase research project on e-learning. The phases are: (1) identifying e-learning themes; (2) identifying research directions of e-learning; and (3) comparing themes and research directions between U.S. and European e-learning reports. The major method of data collection used in this first phase was Web searches using the Metacrawler, Yahoo!, Google, and Lycos search engines. The content analysis of the 15 reports revealed basic but significant information. Although the results from this study touch only the tip of the e-learning iceberg, it holds significance for many professionals researching or writing about e-learning. In essence, this basic study gives educators, researchers, and developers from all institutions a quick glance into the recurrent themes of 1,169 pages of e-learning reports. Given that the study is in its first stage, the study provided a peripheral insight into the purpose, e-learning features, and trends of 15 reports. From this part of the study, it can be concluded that the government, business, and professional associations converge in many aspects of e-learning. Implications of this study are discussed. (Contains 1 figure and 3 tables.)


Waight, C.L., Willging, P. & Wentling, T. (2004). Recurrent Themes in E-Learning: A Narrative Analysis of Major E-Learning Reports. Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 5(3), 195-203. Retrieved March 26, 2019 from .

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Cited By

  1. E-Learning Teams and Their Adult Learning Efforts in Corporate Settings: A Cross Analysis of Four Case Studies

    Barbara Stewart & Consuelo Waight, University of Houston, United States

    International Journal on E-Learning Vol. 7, No. 2 (April 2008) pp. 293–309

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