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Online Learning

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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New Member
Nov 13, 2000
I just read Malcolm James’s posting of 23 April 2001 and I would like to solicit comments from instructors. Specifically, from instructors who are not independent contractors (slave) for a dive shop.

As an independent instructor I am currently doing most of my theory (classroom) teaching with CD’s. The CD’s are one of the best things PADI has come up with in years, they cut my platform time and give the student instant access to almost all the reference material.

So, why don’t I think Online Instruction will be a good thing?

Currently my student come to ME in person or via the Internet or phone. I sell them the CD’s and I work with them from start to finish. As I understand it, with Online Instruction the student will go to the certifying agency (in my case PADI) and do the online training through them. So from the start I am out the sale of the CD’s.

Next, because they have trained online through the certifying agency they will be referred by that agency to a local dive center or resort for their confined water dives and open water dives. Will the certifying agency keep a list of local instructors and provide it to the student or will it just steer the student to a dive center/resort that has paid a fee to become a “certified?” I think most of us know the answer to that question.

Remembering that the scuba diving industry has a huge “drop out rate” of divers who just stop diving after they certify or who never go on for more specialty education take a look at the questions below.

My questions:

Do you think students will be better served by been steered to “dive centers” with constantly changing staffs and need for a higher profit margin or given the information so the can choose between a center or an independent instructor (the Mom and Pops of the industry) who usually spends more time with the student?

Most independent instructors do not sell equipment, they depend on sending their divers to a local shop for equipment. So, they keep their independence but directly/indirectly support local shops. When a students is trained online will they be more likely to also shop on line thus hurting the local shops?

Is this another move for force truly independent instructors to be slaves to a dive centers because our personal attention at competitive prices hurts the centers that are just diver mills pumping out a lot of certifications?

How many of you would like DAN to include a section in the yearly “Dive Accident Report” that talks about what agency certified the divers in the report and if the instructor was a dive center instructor on a truly independent instructor?

Lets see some comments!!!!

:duh :duh :duh
Thanks first up for reading the editorial this month on online training. Like you I am an currently an independant Instructor and have also worked for a variety of dive stores around the world.
In regards to a couple of your points. There is no doubt that most dive stores do not know how to use the web whether it be as simple as communicating to their customer base via newsletters or offering the range of products offered by their store.
Most stores who have sites tend to put a site together because they think they have too - never update it and make it totally user useless.
The larger training agencies have started to play on these factors and will no doubt take the business of online learning back to themselves (the agency) Which is in fact probably the best option for maintaining standards.
However how they then allocate the confined water training and open water training is to be determined - will they give the business to the local store or the closest Instructor. Will the student have the choice or will the agencies play favorites.
Training is a no profit business for most stores whist gear sales is where the money is.
In regards to DAN publishing statistics of the certifying agency, I disagree as there is no doubt that most people will take this as an oppurtunity to go PADI bashing - which is unfair. Being the largest training agency the figures will give an unfair reflection on the standards that PADI maintains. It is like asking states to name the driving schools that taught you to drive for all road accidents.
Thanks for the feedback
Dr. Scuba,

I don't agree with your last point. If the statistics shows up as a percentage of agency trained divers PADI will come out on top.

Why do I say this, because, PADI trains more divers and a lot (more later) never dive again so the statistics are probably in PADI’s favor.

Two Questions:

How do we keep divers diving? When I was in collage (long ago) I did a paper on the cost of skiing vs. the cost of diving. At that time they were fairly close. That is not the case today. The cost of diving seem to be significantly more than the cost of skiing. This takes into account training, equipment, and cost of travel.

You don’t have to be certified to get a lift pass, there is a lot of good skiing in the states, and most of the stuff you buy for skiing is multifunctional. You can ware ski pants and parks around town and to work in the winter. I once wore my dive skins to work but that's is another story.

Some equipment manufacturers are actually suggesting that we do away with certifications. I think that would be a big mistake!

People who can afford to travel and get the good gear usually don’t have the time to do several trips a year. So, they dive once a year and then find other things to do closer to home.

Again, how do we keep people diving???

Question two. Should a certification be for life? I’m not suggesting that you ‘pay another damn instructor,’ to get rectified every so-many years. Just send in your card and say I dove “here and there.” It would be nice to know how many active divers are really out there and maybe, where they really live and dive.


A PADI Instructor
Give me a day or so and i'll reply to some of your points
Mal James
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