Systematic Reviews of Research on Online Learning: An Introductory Look and Review




Online Learning


In this introduction to the special issue on systematic reviews of research on online learning, we introduce the need for systematic reviews on online learning. Utilizing a three-tier lens focusing on systems, pedagogical, and people levels, we have selected nine articles for this issue. At the systems level, there are two articles that focus on research trends during COVID-19, and features of high-quality online learning. At the pedagogical level, five articles were included that address online learner collaboration, help-seeking strategies, intersubjectivity, invisible participation, and online assessment. Finally, at the people level, there are two articles. The first focuses on online learning for minoritized and first-generation students. The second examines moderators in asynchronous online discussions. This introductory article provides a short summary of the nine articles and concludes with implications for practitioners and researchers on using and conducting systematic reviews on various topics in online learning.

Author Biography

Florence Martin, North Carolina State University

Florence Martin is a Professor in Learning, Design and Technology at North Carolina State University. She previously directed and taught in graduate programs at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Cato College of Education and at University of North Carolina at Wilmington’s Watson College of Education. She received her Doctorate and Master's degrees in Educational Technology from Arizona State University. She teaches 100% online and engages in teaching and research to create transformative learning experiences through effective design and integration of digital learning solutions in higher education and K-12 settings. She is researching and supporting K-12 teachers and learners on computer science and cybersecurity education through NSF funded projects. She has published over 100 articles and has received awards for research and practice of online teaching and learning. She also serves on the advisory council for North Carolina Virtual Public Schools and as Associate Editor for the Online Learning Journal and Education Research Review. She has previously served as the President of the Multimedia Production Division and the president of the Division of Distance Learning for the Association for Educational Communications and Technology and as a director for International Board of Standards for Training, Performance and Instruction. More details can be found at


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Systematic Reviews of Research on Online Learning