In 2001, EUMETNET decided to launch a training programme titled Eumetcal with the following goals:
help instructors prepare their lectures
minimise the number of sources they need to search
minimise development time by avoiding duplication
The first phase of the Eumetcal programme was agreed by the EUMETNET Council and functioned from 2002 to 2003. This pilot programme established the work methods and created the basis for the virtual training organisation of Eumetcal. The Second phase of Eumetcal, from 2004 to 2007, has been more operational in character in the sense that it carried out most of the activities that have created the core of the programme.
Information sharing has reached new dimensions with the introduction of modern information and communication technologies. The world is now within our reach but not all information and material is useful and the further one delves into the professional world the less useful and up-to-date the material tends to be.
Meteorology is a specialised field that is heavily dependant upon the effective exploitation of the most modern technologies available. Operational forecasters need continuous professional development (CPD) in their daily activities to maintain high standards in weather products. The National Meteorological Services (NMSs) of Europe are facing ever tighter financial restrictions thus creating a situation where training needs cannot be met without cooperation.
Sharing, reprocessing and exchanging training material and organising material into comprehensive online training modules significantly reduces development time for the teacher and provides NMSs with ready-made packages for the student without excessive use of staff resources. E-learning methods provide a fast response to new technologies and can be used to reach a wide audience potentially spanning the entire globe.
The increasingly fast development of new e-learning programs and methods demands, however, dedicated personnel who are aware of the potentials and benefits of the various methods for e-learning. The current wealth of resources developed in the Eumetcal programme along with expertise in Computer Aided Learning (CAL) methods creates a natural platform to build a cooperative approach and makes Eumetcal a central solution to all of the above mentioned challenges faced by the meteorological community. The new challenges imposed by WMO Technical Publication No 258 and the Single European Sky (SES) legislation create a new situation in aviation meteorology where NMSs need to find a resource-efficient approach to competency assessment and qualification of personnel.