The NOVICE project is an EU initiative under the Lifelong Learning Programme, which aims to develop an online, professional network to promote informal, lifelong learning within the veterinary profession, using Web 2.0 tools. To inform the development of the network, a need analysis study was undertaken with relevant stakeholders. Focus group discussions were undertaken with veterinary students and veterinarians and a survey was administered to first-year students and recent graduates. The results indicate that use of computers and the internet is ubiquitous among junior members of the profession and that use of Web 2.0 tools is increasing. Concerns raised in relation to participation in online communities include verifying the quality of information and issues around professionalism. Compared with face-to-face communities, online communities were perceived to offer a number of advantages. These include convenient access to expert advice on an international scale, as well as helping to alleviate certain barriers to participation in formal, continuing education such as time, distance and cost.
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Provenance not commissioned; externally peer reviewed
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