Thirty years of interactive learning environments: A text mining based bibliometric analysis

Xieling CHEN, Di ZOU, Kwok Shing CHENG, Haoran XIE

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


BACKGROUND: Interactive Learning Environments (ILE) is one of the most active international journals in the field of educational technology, particularly in the field of interactive learning, which encompasses a wide range of the design and use of interactive learning environments for supporting both individual learners and collaboration amongst groups of learners. ILE published its first issue in 1990, and since then, its impact has increased significantly. Questions such as "in what kind of research topics were the ILE community interested?" "How did such research topics evolve?" "what were the main research concerns of the major contributors?" and "what were the potential inter-topic research directions?" are important to both the editorial board and ILE's readership.
METHODS: This study conducted a text mining based bibliometric analysis of 784 articles of the ILE from 1990 to 2019, to explore critical milestones in the ILE's 30-year history. Specifically, we analyzed article trends, identified influential countries/regions and institutions, and visualized the scientific collaboration. In addition, by using structural topic modeling, we uncovered significant research topics concerned within the ILE community. The evolution of topics and the correlation between topics were further explored by using a nonparametric Mann-Kendall trend test and a hierarchical clustering technique. Topic distributions across influential countries/regions and institutions were also investigated and visualized.
RESULTS: The annual articles of ILE had grown consistently across the past 30 years, particularly research articles, highlighting that ILE articles had become increasingly more impactful and influential. From the country/region perspective, it is found that the large increase in ILE articles was attributable to the growing interest and essential contributions of scholars from non-English speaking countries/regions. Collaborations between countries/regions and institutions demonstrated that actors in the same areas in geography were more likely to conduct scientific collaboration, particularly with close collaboration among Taiwan institutions. Results from topic modeling analysis highlighted several essential research issues such as flipped classroom, community of inquiry, technology acceptance models, e-book reading, augmented reality, and game-based learning.
CONCLUSIONS: The results obtained had led to informative and valuable implications, allowing readers to understand better the latent topical popularity, dynamics, correlation, and distribution in the research of interactive learning environments. Findings contributed to ILE by providing a comprehensive overview of its status and trends, which is beneficial to its decision-makers by allowing the authors and ILE editors to make a better and more reasonable decision about submissions and policies. Copyright © 2020 The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


Chen, X., Zou, D., Cheng, G., & Xie, H. (2020, November). Thirty years of interactive learning environments: A text mining based bibliometric analysis. Paper presented at The International Conference on Education and Artificial Intelligence 2020 (ICEAI 2020), Hong Kong, China.


  • Interactive Learning Environments
  • Scientific collaboration
  • Structural topic modeling
  • Research foci


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