An e-Training Support Program for Regional and Local Development

An e-Training Support Program for Regional and Local Development

Vassilis Syrris (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece) and Fenia Tsobanopoulou (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-942-7.ch009


New forms of learning such as distance training and consulting constitute a significant field that presents considerable advantages compared to the traditional educational practices. Computer and communication technologies like World Wide Web/Internet and broadband networks enrich the knowledge environments and grant new perspective to learning mechanisms. In this case study we analyze the technological, cultural and social issues involved in an online distance training program implemented to address in particular farmers, animal-breeders, unemployed and low-salary workers. Distance consulting focuses on subjects concerning entrepreneurial skills and personal training. The project scope includes decentralization, local intervention for employment purposes and bridging of geographical and technological distances.
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Digital Divide

The term digital divide or digital gap is the distance, in terms of socio-economic factors, among individuals, families/households, enterprises and geographical regions with regard to their opportunities for accessing Information Technology and Communications (ICTs) and to their use of the Internet for a wide variety of activities (OECD, 2001) –translating into their difficulty in entering a wide spectrum of activities (Gurstein, 2003). The majority of studies define three general categories:

  • The world divide between developed and developing world (James, 2005; Wade, 2004): technologically and industrially developed nations versus countries with lack of elementary infrastructure.

  • The divide between countries: strategic advantage acquisition in sectors such as economy, army, energy etc. The result is the creation of specific strong political or economic lobbies in decision-making and policies implementation.

  • The inter-social divide within a state -it is also referred to as the ‘technological divide’ or ‘the lack of digital inclusion’ (Rice, 2001): differences between big urban centers and rural regions (Rao, 2005); or, between educated and not educated people, upper or lower class, financially independent or dependent, men and women etc. Age, sex, location, culture, social position and personal or political beliefs are, in general, parameters that can cause an individual to abstain from or not, to be given an option for or not, in technological evolution.

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