Keywords: emergency management education, e-learning in emergency management, emergency management and knowledge management
The need for digital educational resources in emergency management
The internet offers potentially great benefits to the emergency management community as a medium that can provide quality information resources 24 hours a day/seven days a week (24/7). Concern is growing that the emergency management field will have a glut of information but a dearth of knowledge. Systematic efforts to select, digitise, and effectively present basic information and guidance are still in their infancy. Disaster-Central is a project aimed at providing a comprehensive, web-based portal and digital library for information on emergency, crisis and risk management. The service would offer current, selective and comprehensive information resources for emergency managers (public sector), business and enterprise contingency planners, and educators and students. Since the project is in the early development stage, this paper focuses on the need for the development of digital, online resources for practitioners and educators and for e-learning (or distance learning) in the near future. The author has identified some of the unmet informational needs of the emergency/crisis/risk management communities and the time pressures on the emergency management community. These include greater speed in information-gathering and decision-making by practitioners, new modes of doing research and professional writing for publication, preference for obtaining resources and other professional support via the internet (with access 24/7), and plans for e-learning. The internet holds great promise for education and training, but distance learning will succeed only if quality "distance resources" are made available to facilitate the learning process. This paper is based on the paper delivered by the author at the TIEMS 2001 conference.