Research Project

Educational television around the world: international interviews of experts

This IZI study under the umbrella of the “educational television” research topic is designed to show how those responsible for programming at present assess and implement the genre of educational television and what future they see for it. In contrast to media use or reception research, the study focuses on the production side. Data gathered from professionals responsible for programming in 26 TV companies worldwide are intended to facilitate a situation of the “educational television” genre according to the following aspects: understanding of concepts, organisational significance, content, and media convergence between TV and online media. 

In this course of the study, an attempt is made to investigate possible differences between public and private television broadcasters in their approach to “educational television”, as well as differences between organisations in different countries. Various forms of educational remit are enshrined in statutory legislation, above all for public broadcasting organisations. However, as a genre educational television is difficult to define and isolate. Approaches to the educational genre, and varieties of understanding of the range of programme formulas which can be subsumed under it, are discussed against the background of these varying preconditions. The study is also devoted to an assessment of current trends and future developments in educational television, with a special emphasis on implementation and distribution.


The aim of the project is to gather the rich variety of types of understanding of, and approaches to, educational television in an international context. What does an international comparison reveal about the status, content, and orientation of educational television? Not least, the study is also devoted to an assessment of current trends and future developments in educational television, with a special emphasis on implementation and distribution.

Subsidiary questions of the study are:

Data collection

1. Expert interviews
In the course of the study, face-to-face, problem-centred interviews are conducted with experts, so that, when planning the questionnaire to collect data for the comparative study of countries and broadcasters (see below), allowances are made for the different access requirements of the interviewees, who come from professional fields of differing orientation (public, private, special interest educational channels).

2. Questionnaires
The international part of the study was conducted between mid-September and the end of November, 2008, and accomplished by sending out questionnaires by e-mail. The questionnaires were sent out in German, English, and Spanish. The persons questioned are active in the fields of programme planning, production, and development, and their views reflect the approach to the topic on the communicators' side.


The results of the study were published in TelevIZIon 21/2008/2, “Educational Television” (only available in German)

Project leader: Dr. Elke Schlote (IZI)

Project management: Andreas Fläckel (University of Vienna)


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MacMahon, John: Imagining learners: Changing expectations of educational television. In: Meyer, Manfred (Hrsg.): Educational television. Luton u.a.: John Libbey Media 1997, pp. 86-93.

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