Online Padi Course

Discussion in 'New Divers and Those Considering Diving' started by azscuba, Mar 1, 2008.

  1. azscuba

    azscuba Garibaldi

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    Hi! Has anyone out there done the Online Padi Course? How long did it take? I want to do the coursework online, poolwork at a local SPort Chalet, then do my dives in Mexico (Mayan Riviera Coast). Thanks!
     
  2. Dive-aholic

    Dive-aholic PADI Pro

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    What's the rush? Do you think doing a quickie course like that will really get your prepared for being under water with your life dependent on the tank of air on your back and the regulator in your mouth?

    Seriously, take your time and take a good course that will provide you with thorough training that will leave you prepared for diving without an instructor or divemaster once you're done with it.

    The online course allows you to complete the book work before hand, but you will still have to take the final exam at the local shop. And the material in the book is very basic. If you have a decent instructor, he/she will go over the stuff in more detail and provide you with better information. I have all my students complete the book work before class and we spend a few hours before and in between dives going over the material. On, and BTW, it's usually a little more expensive to do the online course because most shops haven't dropped their prices.

    As for Sport Chalet, I've seen their courses and I'm not impressed. You will be in a pool with a dozen other students (unless you're lucky and they have low enrollment that month) and you won't get a whole lot of one on one time with the instructor if any at all.

    You have many other options available to you. There are quite a few independent instructors (instructors not affiliated with a shop) that will provide you with a much better course than your current plan will give you. Cutting corners isn't a good thing in any situation.

    Good luck with your scuba endeavor.
     
  3. tstormdiver

    tstormdiver Tech Diver

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    Like he said. That's very good advice. Having a "live' instructor can make all the difference in the world. They can give you real life examples & situations that an online course can't.
     
  4. oly5050user

    oly5050user Scuba Instructor

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    So now hear another view..
    The online course can work for you.
    It really is no different than completing a course the traditional way.
    Example:Traditional method: you go to a dive center purchase a crewpack(learing materals) go home watch a video,read a book,complete you knowledge reviews.Now you show up for class,instructor gives a presentation ,go over knowledge reviews,short 10 question quiz,then reviews quiz.
    Example with online: You go on line ,pay for access and watch same video,read same material,do the same knowledge reviews(print them out) as in the crew pack,but only on computer instead of paper book.You have access to learning materials for a set time after course is completed for review at your leisure.
    Now you go to class,instructor does a presentation ,go over knowledge reviews,same 10 question quiz,reviews quiz..All confined pool work stays the same..All ow training dives stay the same.
    With either option still have final exam-50 question multiple choice format .

    The online option is just that,an option ..it affords flexibility to people who may be short on time to go to facility and purchase learning materials and or those who feel more at ease using computer instead of traditional books.Still have to purchase a log book and RDP tables at facility.
    It cost a little bit more this way online,but for some people its the convience that they realise that they are paying for.
     
  5. Lenmonster

    Lenmonster Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Baltimore, MD
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    I took it. It's not a quickie course that rushes through. Basically, it replaces the book work and instructor classroom work. You still have pool training and your checkout dives. I feel that I got as much out of doing eLearning as people did from their classroom-based bookwork. You still have the same knowledge reviews and the same final test. The reason I did eLearning is because my schedule (late Saturday night gigs) kept me from doing the early Sunday morning classroom portion of the course, but I did my pool work with the class.

    I found the eLearning to be very thorough. I didn't have the PADi OW book, but I did have an SSI book from when I was going to take the course with an SSI school. It covered all of the same material, and had videos, online audio explanations, etc. Each section had various knowledge reviews to make sure you understood the material.

    This is much different than the weekend courses that try to shove all of the stuff into two weekend pool sessions, and I'm wondering if the responding posters had this in mind when answering. I personally had five weekly pool sessions in my OW course, the same as everyone else taking the course. Out of 10 people in the original course, six dropped out, and I did fine on my OW dives that I did in Cancun. Plus I did well on the final test that everyone took after the last pool session (although I took it before the first pool session). The instructor can answer questions at the pool if you don't understand something and the confined dives actually re-address many of the book/online concepts, so you aren't missing a thing, IMO, except for hearing everyone else's questions in the classroom setting.

    Please let me know if you have any other questions.
     
  6. fisherdvm

    fisherdvm Great White

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    I think if one was short on time, but have lots of money to spend, the online course is a good way to save time. As long as you are willing to pay the instructor extra money, for the equivalent EXTRA amount of time in the pool for private lessons. I would want to instructor to help trim me out with weight, get weight calculation down to the ounce, and work on ascent and descent skills. Essentially, doing all that is done in the so called peak performance buoyancy class.... before you do your openwater dives.
     
  7. PinkPADIgal

    PinkPADIgal PADI Master Instructor

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    The on-line course is not a "quickie" course. It covers everything that is covered in the classroom. I think what Rob was concerned about is the quality of time the op gets once he/she completes the course work on line.

    Everyone that has come to me once completing their on-line training has been well-prepared. They are serious about their training and everyone has done well that I have trained.

    azscuba...your pool time is your opportunity to ask questions, and learn the skills you will need to get certified when you get to Mexico. Find an instructor that will work with you, understands ELearning and will be able to answer all your questions. Don't short-cut your pool training.
     
  8. Damselfish

    Damselfish Orca

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    Some people will learn better online and some will learn better from a class. I don't see anything wrong with doing the academic stuff online if it works for someone. As far as the poolwork, definitely see how many people will be in your class and how much time there will be, and compare it against other options in your area. It may be a cheap class (seems I've heard that SC often offers cheap classes?) but that shouldn't be the first priority in picking a class. Find out who the instructor is and see if anyone here can give you some feedback.
     
  9. neil

    neil Scuba Instructor

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    The problem I have with the PADI online course is that it's still the PADI course, which I feel is woefully inadequate in it's academic content. When I teach a PADI course I spend considerable time in the classroom filling in the gaps in knowledge that I think are there.
     
  10. Lenmonster

    Lenmonster Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Baltimore, MD
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    Neil...Which specific academic issues do you have with PADI's course? I'm not a PADI apologist by any means, but it would definitely be helpful to us who are certified through them to know what we're missing.

    That said, I wonder how much someone could even take in at the basic OW level. I know that much of the academic stuff doesn't hit home until you get wet. So do you think information overload could set in before people even begin diving?

    Personally, because I am interested in pursuing diving with gusto, I'm trying to read supplemental material, including the Certified Diver's Handbook and Diver Down, as well as this board.
     
  11. sea-nile

    sea-nile Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Wisconsin
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    I did the on-line course and have done the pool dives.
    It does cost more. I now regret that I did it this way. I think that I would have liked the person to person instructor in the classroom much better. I do live far from the dive shop so I did it for convenience.
    It wasn't quick which is what others have said. Each module takes maybe an hour. Then I went over everything again before the written test. I learned a lot, got 100% on the test, so it could be a good alternative if you have a busy schedule and live far from a class.
    My dive manual is online rather than a hard copy, which is OK, I guess, but I think I'd prefer a hard copy.
    If you are the kind of person who does everything on the computer, it is probably a good option.
     
  12. azscuba

    azscuba Garibaldi

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    Hi Dive-aholic, I think all your points are valid, so let me explain my situation. Last spring I went on a Resort Course in Maui and had the time of my life. I knew then that I HAD to scuba dive. As a very busy mom of 4 with a busy husband, and no time to do anything for myself, I haven't had the chance to pursue my dream. In 3 weeks, I am going to MX on a gals trip, IE no kids, I can do whatever I want, it suddenly occurred to me this is my chance to do my certification. Like all moms, I do my best thinking when the kids are in bed or at school, so the online study would really suit me. Do you think 3 weeks is enough time to study and do my poolwork on the weekends?
     
  13. Lenmonster

    Lenmonster Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Baltimore, MD
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    The only way to get your pool training done (IMO adequately) is to do it when, say, they have two sessions per week, as many courses do. It also depends, though, on the amount of time you need to be in the pool. I got my skills down pretty quickly, but many struggled. I know my wife, given her fears of mask clearing, wants to spread pool sessions out so she can practice between them.

    You also potentially could, if you have a lot of time on the trip...do your eLearning, and then do all of your pool sessions and your OW checkout dives right in Mexico. I don't know where you are staying, but there are many good dive ops that would be able to do that for you. It's just that most people don't want to take a lot of their vacation time, especially if you are staying at an all-inclusive hotel or have other sightseeing plans, to do what they could have done at home.

    I actually struggled with whether I should just do everything in Mexico (just did my checkout dives there last week). I decided I'd rather do the pool stuff here, and see how I did, knowing I could get more training in the pool if I needed in in Mexico. If I hadn't done that, I'd leave little room for error, plus I wouldn't have spent as much time with my family. I'm glad I did it the way I did.

    If you are staying in Cancun, Ben at Mayan Aqua Dive is a great instructor, and he would help you do whatever you wanted to get your certification.

    No matter what, in some ways, OW is already a rush. I don't think for some people there is a difference between doing everything over, say, a four day span is any different than having sessions a week apart.
     
  14. fisherdvm

    fisherdvm Great White

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    I am glad that you fill in the gaps. But for the uninformed student, they are often told to do SSI. Please do an objective reading of SSI's open water book, and you would see that PADI's program is superior. I enrolled my son in SSI, and having read through his book at least once .... PADI's book is much better.

    Hopefully enough SSI instructors will read this, and that the SSI organization will improve their book.
     
  15. jpcpat

    jpcpat Scuba Instructor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Queens, NYC
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    AZ,

    Welcome to the board, and congratulations on taking the time to do something you want to do. Please ignore the training bashers who predict a quick death for anyone who is not full cave certified. To dive in a cave, you need the kind of training they are describing. For diving the reefs of mexico, not so much.

    The online learning option seems best suited for you as it's the most flexible timewise. In my experience, Elearners are often the best prepared academically. If anything is not clear at the end, you can ask your instructor before you start the pool work.

    As for scheduling, I would suggest scheduling the pool sessions, then backing into the timing on the elearning. Some people bang it out in a weekend. With kids, I'd count on a week.

    If you took a resort course and loved it, the pool work will be pretty straightforward. Enjoy it.
     
  16. oly5050user

    oly5050user Scuba Instructor

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    where did you not have a instructor person to person? Did they not do a presentation to review material? Did they not review knowledge reviews with you? did they do quiz and review with you? How about the final exam?You did have the instructor there at the pool I hope.Congrats on the test score ,shows that you truly applied yourself.But the fact that you say "would have likes to the person to person instructor in the classroom concerns me that someone(instr/facility)failed to do their job.
     
  17. DiverBizz

    DiverBizz Manta Ray

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    E Learning is not for me. I love being in the classroom and having the book to refer to occasionally and asking the teacher about whatever chapter review question at the time of the class. YES, I cannot say anything about E Learning other than the few divers that I know who did the internet course did not appear to be lacking in skills or general knowledge.
     
  18. fisherdvm

    fisherdvm Great White

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    I think the nice thing about online classes is, you don't have to worry about a bad instructor who doesn't spend enough time. As you are the instructor, and can go at your own pace. I've been taking ACLS (advanced cardiac life support) renewal classes every 2 years for 20 years. When we started out, they were half day classes with drills done by 2 doctors. Then they were still at least 4 hours, but now taught by nurses and EMTs. Then I took an online class, and did fine. The last one I took, was in a class. It was barely a 1 hour class, was taught terribly, and I had to contact the AHA people, write to the director, and reported the instructor. ......

    In medical school, we had really bad instructors for many classes. The one class I liked the best was our pharmacology course. It was self taught, and self tested!! Only the final was not self test. I did great, read tons of stuff out side of the course outline..... But others did terribly, and some of my colleagues had to retake the class (one flunked the final twice and repeated a year of med school). So self paced and self instruction is not for everyone.

    You really can't appreciate the value of an online class until you've had a bad instructor. But, with a good instructor, you probably will learn much more than an online class.
     
  19. sea-nile

    sea-nile Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Wisconsin
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    OLY5050user:
    The instructor was at the pool, of course, I was the first online student that they had and they said that I could come in for review anytime and even go back in the pool again before the OW dives. I didn't feel like I knew less than the other students. It is just that I am 48 and did not grow up learning on the computer. I just think that I would have preferred the classes in person.
    I did take the final exam at the dive shop with the instructor present.
     
  20. neil

    neil Scuba Instructor

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    There are many things I add. We've talked about this on the board before but I'll give you a few examples off the top of my head:

    -Gas management, a perennial favorite here on SB.
    -Comprehensive discussion on signs, symptoms and treatment of DCI. In fact, the words "gas embolism" do not appear in the PADI text.
    -There's not anything about the history of dive tables and the differences between the ones that exist. I think this is important knowledge and deserves a few minutes of class time
    -Tank markings in better detail; how regs work,
    -More detailed physiology. The words "eustachian tube" do not appear in the PADI text.
    There's plenty more.

    Some will argue that some or all of this is unnecessary to know. I disagree, and truly believe that the informed diver will be the better diver.

    Frankly, IMNSHO, if ALL you know about diving came from the PADI OW course, your knowledge has some serious gaps in it. I guess this can be said about other courses too, to some extent. You aren't going to learn everything there is to know about diving in ANY OW course.
     

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