Two decades of artificial intelligence in education: Contributors, collaborations, research Topics, challenges, and future directions

Xieling CHEN, Di ZOU*, Haoran XIE, Gary CHENG, Caixia LIU

*Corresponding author for this work

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

161 Citations (Scopus)
7422 Downloads (Pure)


With the increasing use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies in education, the number of published studies in the field has increased. However, no large-scale reviews have been conducted to comprehensively investigate the various aspects of this field. Based on 4,519 publications from 2000 to 2019, we attempt to fill this gap and identify trends and topics related to AI applications in education (AIEd) using topic-based bibliometrics. Results of the review reveal an increasing interest in using AI for educational purposes from the academic community. The main research topics include intelligent tutoring systems for special education; natural language processing for language education; educational robots for AI education; educational data mining for performance prediction; discourse analysis in computer-supported collaborative learning; neural networks for teaching evaluation; affective computing for learner emotion detection; and recommender systems for personalized learning. We also discuss the challenges and future directions of AIEd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-47
Number of pages20
JournalEducational Technology and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
paper was presented at the International Conference on Education and Artificial Intelligence 2020, The Education University of Hong Kong, 9-11 November 2020, Hong Kong. Haoran Xie’s work in this research is supported by the Direct Grant (DR21A5) and the Faculty Research Fund (DB21A4) at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. Gary Cheng’s work is supported by General Research Fund (No. 18601118) of Research Grants Council of Hong Kong SAR, China, and One-off Special Fund from Central and Faculty Fund in Support of Research from 2019/20 to 2021/22 (MIT02/19-20) of The Education University of Hong Kong.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022,Educational Technology and Society. All rights reserved


  • Artificial intelligence in education
  • Structural topic modeling
  • Bibliometric analysis
  • Research topics
  • Research evolution


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