The Good The Bad and the Ugly of Online Learning  Online

Online Learning to become a dive instructor?

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Online Learning!

In an era of digitization and gathering information online it is no surprise that even dive courses can be done partly online. Various advantages and disadvantages are present, especially when it comes to professional dive courses, like becoming a dive instructor. How to find out what is the best option for you?!

The Good The Bad and the Ugly of Online Learning  Dan

PADI Course Director Dan Robinson

To answer this question I asked advice from a person who teaches people to become dive instructors. With PADI this is a Course Director and the course to become a dive instructor is called an IDC (Instructor Development Course). Read more about IDC courses here.

Dan Robinson is a Course Director in the Philippines with experience in teaching both forms. He believes in both, with an interesting twist…

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Dan giving a classroom presentation during a PADI IDC.

The Good: When online learning works for students

"I prefer to sell Online to candidates and get them to work through PADI’s Diving Knowledge Workbook and the Instructions for Use for the Recreational Dive Planners. I like to get them through a couple of sets each of Theory and PADI Systems, Standards and Procedures Exams, plus four EFRI Knowledge Reviews and Exam, all before the IDC. Then we have Theory class discussions and sufficient sets of exams so they are (and I am) confident of passing the first time."

The Bad: When online learning does not work for students

"In fact classroom teaching of Dive Theory has never been part of an IDC. It used to be covered in full on Divemaster Courses until 2009, then it was "dumbed-down" in 2010, leaving a significant gap between Divemaster and the Instructor Examination. Not being successful on Written Exams, particularly Dive Theory, is one of the main reasons people do not pass the dive instructor examination.

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Failed PADI dive theory exam

Unfortunately, as the comprehension/numeracy level is set at average US high-school graduate and exams remain unavailable in some languages, given some of my locations and average academic profiles of full time divers, a significant part of the IDC often gets dominated by practice exams (I did 12 full sets of Theory with them last time and one westerner got 100 100 100 100 100!)"

"In order to be successful on a set of Dive Theory Exams, a candidate must score at least 75 per cent. on each of the five subjects individually: Physics; Physiology; Recreational Dive Planner; General Skills and Environment; Equipment. On the Instructor Exam theory paper, only 12 questions are given for each topic, so each question counts for over 8%.

Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving

Still one of the best books about diving theory!

A candidate making four errors on one subject may remake that single topic on the second day of their IE. If a candidate achieves under 75% on two subjects, they do not pass the IE and need to attend a second and pay a resit fee that is over 40% of the full IE fee."

The ugly: When online learning is preferred but it does not work

"Digital learning is not the preference of every candidate. Information technology literacy is sadly sometimes not so high in some of the markets in which I operate.

For instance, I have had a candidate opening his very first laptop in my classroom, with no Microsoft PowerPoint or Adobe pdf software, which may not be so bad, but some people still need physical print-outs of, say, the latest version of the PADI Instructor Manual. I have also had candidates who purchased e-Learning and, for whatever reason, did not complete it."
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Is Online learning more expensive?

"There are two separate options for digital learning: Dive Theory Online and IDC e-Learning. These are in addition to the physical Crew Pack each candidate must purchase as it is the only way to get the hologram that must be stuck to their Instructor Certificate of Completion for an Instructor Examiner to allow them to participate in an IE.

If candidates are bright, knowledgeable, accustomed to sitting exams and to dealing with stress, then they may not need to purchase digital learning. If any of these do not apply, then they may prefer to spend some extra money on digital learning to increase their chance of succeeding at IDC and being allowed to sit an IE. Digital learning materials are distinct from those in Crew Packs."

PADI Course Director Dan Robinson

Dan Robinson is teaching dive instructor courses in the Philippines. In Boracay he works with WaterColors Boracay Diving Adventures. His personal website with more information and links is:

Dan is specializing in training those who have neither English nor Physics as a first language.
Find out more about his IDCs and compare the information here

What is your opinion about online learning when doing a dive instructor course?

Dive o'clock "It's dive o'clock somewhere!"

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