Well…the planets aligned and somehow you’ve ended up here. If you were looking for pictures of cats with funny captions, you should probably try a keyword search in google again. But, if you’re here to weigh your options on PADI’s E-learning versus traditional classroom you’ve come to the right place.
PADI, short for Professional Association of Diving Instructors is the top scuba diving training organization in the world. Their credentials are recognized and accepted across the globe. So it’s easy to understand why you chose to dive with PADI.
Now if you came here thinking you were going to get some definitive answer from the vague but all knowing magic eight-ball, you my friend are out of luck. I will; however, go ahead and give you a few perceived pros and cons and let you weigh the options. In all honesty, how can you go wrong…you’re learning how to breathe underwater, with the opportunity to see 2/3 of the world that most people will never lay eyes on, whatever you choose will lead you to a new experience that only a handful of people ever get to have.
To start, I will say I chose the traditional route. Not for any “specific” reason, but because in all honesty it just happened to work out this way. And for me personally, it is convenient to my preferred method of learning. Plus, let’s be honest: I work in a dive shop, I’m around divers all the time, in our downtime I can even ask questions while also having the luxury of working on chapters at my own pace. Now, this isn’t going to be true for everybody, most of you don’t work at dive shops, you probably have a full-time job or school schedule and potentially a plethora of other responsibilities. With that being said, some shops also have schedules for their classroom learning, we currently don’t (and that could change). So this is what works for me, but it may not necessarily be what works for you.
In traditional learning, you get instant feedback. You can ask questions and have them answered in real time, without having to wait for an e-mail from your instructor. You also get to hear about personal experiences from your instructors, a time when they had an emergency or their tricks and tips that an e-learning program just can’t give you. With that being said, if you have multiple responsibilities and little free time, you might need something that’s a little more at your pace. Most dive shops are going to offer “classroom” time on a schedule and it may not fit yours. Additionally, the instructor might not teach the way you understand. Maybe listening to someone talk about safely ascending and descending isn’t cutting it, but watching the videos and reading helps you absorb it. Now you could be just the opposite too, able to comprehend better in a student/instructor environment and that’s great! Just be aware of your learning style.
Now the biggest pro of E-Learning is convenience, you take it when you have time and pay for your “classroom” learning and your confined and open water dives when you choose a dive shop (ahem, Virginia Scuba). It usually ends up being a little more expensive, but the cost of being able to define your own is usually worth it, don’t you think? Another selling point is it’s consistent, you will get all the information you need and nothing you don’t. Because of this there are occasionally people who feel that E-Learning is generic. Which if you choose a reputable dive shop to complete your dives, that’s not the case. You’ll still get the best of both worlds and we can tailor your learning experience to your specific needs.
So what do I suggest? Weigh the pros and cons, including the time you have to dedicate to the course and your specific learning style and decide what’s best for you.
What are you waiting for? Let’s dive!