Continuing Professional Education in a Rural Context: Does Interactive, Distance Education Meet the Need?
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This paper reports the results of an investigation into the use of interactive distance education to meet the need for continuing professional education. Using a mixed-method research design, the study evaluated students' perceptions of learning in distance education courses delivered via interactive audio teleconferencing technology. The investigation revealed that interactive distance education is perceived, by enrolled students, as supporting the development of a community of inquiry and critical thinking skills. However, the extent of this development is related to the instructional design embedded within the course. The implications of using interactive distance education technologies for the delivery of professional development courses are discussed.