Trends in open and distance learning research: 2005 vs 2015

Yuen Yee Wong, Jing Zeng, Chun Kit Ho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to analyse the research trends in the field of open and distance learning (ODL) as reflected in journal articles. Design/methodology/approach: It compares research articles published in 2005 and 2015. Content analysis was conducted on a total of 288 research articles published in seven peer-reviewed journals on ODL. The study covers research areas and keywords, research methodology and participant types, and author collaboration. Findings: The results show that macro-level research on areas such as globalization and cultural aspects of ODL remain relatively scarce, and international collaboration appear uncommon in both 2005 and 2015. However, there was an increasing amount of international collaboration in developing macro-level research. Empirical research studies, especially those using quantitative methods, have become the dominant methodology. The data sources have also been broadened. Several new keywords which did not exist or were rarely used (e.g. massive open online courses) have become common in 2015. Originality/value: The analysis offers insights for researchers into how they can develop their research effectively in the field and enhance the chances of their research outputs being accepted. Recommendations are also made for ODL researchers on the types of research that tend to be accepted for publication and will have a high potential impact in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-227
Number of pages12
JournalAsian Association of Open Universities Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2016


  • Content analysis
  • Open and distance learning
  • Research trend


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