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Educ. Sci. 2014, 4(1), 155-171; doi:10.3390/educsci4010155

Mapping the Evolution of eLearning from 1977–2005 to Inform Understandings of eLearning Historical Trends

1, 2,*  and 1
1 Graduate Institute for Information and Computer Education, National Kaohsiung Normal University, 116 Ho-Ping First Road, Kaohsiung 80201, Taiwan 2 Griffith Institute for Educational Research, Gold Coast campus, Griffith University, Gold Coast Queensland 4222, Australia
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 October 2013 / Accepted: 11 March 2014 / Published: 19 March 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue eLearning: Exploring Digital Futures in the 21st Century)
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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 2006–2014 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 1977–2005 have shaped the current focus on Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) needed for effective current and future eLearning.
Keywords: eLearning; ICT; educational computing research; pedagogy; TPACK eLearning; ICT; educational computing research; pedagogy; TPACK
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Sun, P.C.; Finger, G.; Liu, Z.L. Mapping the Evolution of eLearning from 1977–2005 to Inform Understandings of eLearning Historical Trends. Educ. Sci. 2014, 4, 155-171.

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