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Mapping the Evolution of Elearning from 1977-2005 to Inform Understandings of e-Learning Historical Trends

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Education Sciences Volume 4, Number 1,


While there have been very limited studies of the educational computing literature to analyze the research trends since the early emergence of educational computing technologies, the authors argue that it is important for both researchers and educators to understand the major, historical educational computing trends in order to inform understandings of current and future eLearning trends. This study provides the findings of an analysis of 2,694 journal articles published between 1977 and 2005 in four major, international educational computing journals. It provides the platform for a subsequent analysis for the period 2006-2013 and beyond, as future educational computing research is published. The journal articles analyzed were categorized according to their research themes. Subsequently, clustering analysis, multi-dimension scale analysis, and research diversity analysis were performed on the categorized results to explore the research trends. The research literature analysis confirmed that there were identifiable evolutionary trends dating from 1977, and, importantly, the analysis highlighted that each key breakthrough in technology was accompanied by increased educational research about those technologies to inform educational practices. Importantly, two major driving forces of the historical trends identified were technologies and pedagogical approaches. The paper concludes with explanations of how these trends from 1997-2005 have shaped the current focus on Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) needed for effective current and future eLearning.


Sun, P.C., Finger, G. & Liu, Z.L. (2014). Mapping the Evolution of Elearning from 1977-2005 to Inform Understandings of e-Learning Historical Trends. Education Sciences, 4(1), 155-171. Retrieved October 20, 2020 from .

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