116 paper

Using the internet for professional development:
The experience of rural and remote professionals

Anthony Herrington, Jan Herrington
Faculty of Education
University of Wollongong

The retention of professionals employed in rural and remote areas of Australia is a critical factor in community growth and sustainability. Retaining professionals depends to a large extent on the availability of support and professional development that is becoming increasingly accessible through the internet. This paper describes a research study that used survey and interview methods to indicate how a range of ten professional groups employed in rural and remote Australia, are accessing the internet for professional development. The findings indicate that email, the world wide web, discussion, chat and listservs were commonly used, however, the ability of professionals to avail themselves of professional development support on the internet was not always within their own control, and depended on a number of complex factors.

Keywords: internet, professional development, rural and remote professionals