Research and trends in the field of e-learning from 2001 to 2005: A content analysis of cognitive studies in selected journals

Meilun Shih, Jui Feng, Chin-Chung Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

165 Citations (Scopus)


This paper provided a content analysis of studies in the field of cognition in e-learning that were published in five Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) journals (i.e. Computers and Education, British Journal of Educational Technology, Innovations in Education and Teaching International, Educational Technology Research & Development, and Journal of Computer Assisted Learning) from 2001 to 2005. Among the 1027 articles published in these journals from 2001 to 2005, 444 articles were identified as being related to the topic of cognition in e-learning. These articles were cross analyzed by published years, journal, research topic, and citation count. Furthermore, 16 highly-cited articles across different topics were chosen for further analysis according to their research settings, participants, research design types, and research methods. It was found from the analysis of the 444 articles that “Instructional Approaches,” “Learning Environment,” and “Metacognition” were the three most popular research topics, but the analysis of the citation counts suggested that the studies related to “Instructional Approaches,” “Information Processing” and “Motivation” might have a greater impact on subsequent research. Although the use of questionnaires might still be the main method of gathering research data in e-learning cognitive studies, a clear trend was observed that more and more studies were utilizing learners’ log files or online messages as data sources for analysis. The results of the analysis provided insights for educators and researchers into research trends and patterns of cognition in e-learning.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)955-967
Number of pages13
JournalComputers and Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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