The success of emergency intervention to control contagious animal diseases is dependent on the preparedness of veterinary services. In the framework of avian influenza preparedness, the Italian Ministry of Health, in cooperation with the National Reference Centers for Epidemiology and Avian Influenza, implemented an electronic learning course using new web-based information and communication technologies. The course was designed to train veterinary officers involved in disease outbreak management, laboratory diagnosis, and policy making. The “blended learning model” was applied, involving participants in tutor-supported self-learning, collaborative learning activities, and virtual classes. The course duration was 16 hr spread over a 4-wk period. Six editions were implemented for 705 participants. All participants completed the evaluation assignments, and the drop out rate was very low (only 4%). This project increased the number of professionals receiving high-quality training on AI in Italy, while reducing expenditure and maximizing return on effort.
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Vol. 54 • No. s1