A bibliometric review on latent topics and trends of the empirical MOOC literature (2008–2019)

Caixia LIU, Di ZOU*, Xieling CHEN, Haoran XIE, Wai Hong CHAN

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have become a popular learning mode in recent years, especially since the outbreak of COVID-19 in late 2019, which had resulted in a significant increase in associated research. This paper presents a bibliometric review of 1078 peer-reviewed MOOC studies between 2008 and 2019. These papers are extracted from three influential databases, the Web of Science (WOS), Scopus, and the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC). The MOOC literature analysis with a bibliometric approach identified the research trends, journals, countries/regions, and institutions with high H-index, scientific collaborations, research topics, topic distributions of the prolific countries/regions and institutions, and annual topic distributions, after which the representative research and research implications were discussed. This review gives researchers a deep and comprehensive understanding of current MOOC research and identifies potential research topics and collaborative partners, which supports MOOC-related future research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-534
Number of pages20
JournalAsia Pacific Education Review
Issue number3
Early online date17 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is supported by the FLASS Internationalization and Exchange Scheme (FLASS/IE_A03/18-19) at The Education University of Hong Kong, and the Teaching Development Grant (102489) at Lingnan University, Hong Kong.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Education Research Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.


  • Bibliometric analysis
  • Literature review
  • MOOC
  • Structural topic modeling


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