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A Systematic Review and Trend Analysis of Personal Learning Environments Research

Sarah A. L. Serhan and Noraffandy Yahaya

Abstract—The concept of personal learning environments (PLEs) is relatively new and is continuously developing. Over the past decade, there has been a significant upsurge in the number of PLEs-related research. Nevertheless, there is a lack of recent systematic reviews and trend analysis covering many PLEs studies; to the best of our knowledge. Therefore, the current systematic review is significant and indispensable in reviewing journal articles that discussed PLEs between 2000 and 2020. We searched Web of Science, Scopus, Sciences Direct, JSTOR, Springer, Google Scholar, and IEEE Xplore for studies published in English without limit in location or time to retrieve accurate results. Trend graphics for the extracted themes were also analyzed using descriptive statistics in Excel. According to the defined inclusion criteria, one hundred forty-eight articles were selected for the analysis. This study reveals that literature on PLEs has progressed from 2000 to 2020; the majority of PLEs-related articles were published between 2011 and 2020, with the year 2013 having the highest number of published articles (17 articles), followed by 16 papers published in both years 2014 and 2017. We found that the published PLEs research originated from 46 countries; 26 (17.6%) were from Spain. The majority of the authors had education, computer science, information technology and engineering backgrounds. This review also showed that numerous platforms had been used in PLEs research, with Web 2.0 the most commonly used platform. We noted that the most common objectives of the included articles were PLEs custom system development, analysis of the PLEs, description of experiments, investigations, development of factor models, framework development, and examination. The most common theoretical perspectives in the published articles were self-regulated learning, self-directed learning, and constructivism. The current systematic review and trend analysis can become a guidance platform for researchers, educators, policymakers or even journal publishers for future research in PLEs research.

Index Terms—Personal learning, personal learning environment, systematic review, trend analysis.

The authors are with the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Skudai, Johor, Malaysia (corresponding author: Sara.h A. L. Serhan; e-mail: sarah.alsarhan@hotmail.com, p-afandy@utm.my).


Copyright © 2021 by the authors. 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 (CC BY 4.0).

General Information

  • ISSN: 2010-3689 (Online)
  • Abbreviated Title: Int. J. Inf. Educ. Technol.
  • Frequency: Monthly
  • DOI: 10.18178/IJIET
  • Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Dr. Steve Thatcher
  • Executive Editor: Ms. Nancy Y. Liu
  • Abstracting/ Indexing: Scopus (Since 2019), INSPEC (IET), UGC-CARE List (India), CNKI, EBSCO, Electronic Journals Library, Google Scholar, Crossref, etc.
  • E-mail: ijiet@ejournal.net

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