As part of a cooperative agreement with United States Department of Agriculture Animal Care, the Zoo Animal Health Network (ZAHN) has developed a web-based and DVD training tool that explores influenzas in non-domestic species. While a number of excellent online training programs exist about avian influenza, most address the disease in poultry. Our online learning tool has been tailored to the specific needs of the zoologic niche.
Our approach was unique. ZAHN assembled subject-matter experts for a 2-day workshop, representing USDA Animal Care, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, AAZV veterinarians, academic experts and others. This collaborative approach to content development was critically important to address the various needs of the exotic animal community. Our audience is any exhibitor licensed by USDA, which includes zoos and other animal enterprises. The baseline knowledge about these viruses varies tremendously across our target audience, so our product had to address basic learning objectives, and provide more in-depth subject matter for animal care managers.
Our product is unique. The course content reviews viral basics, epidemiology, and outbreak management, but we have also included basic exercises to involve the learner in decision-making scenarios. A combination of narration, animation, and photography is designed to engage the learner as well, and to increase the likelihood of knowledge transfer after completing the course.