Monday, July 16, 2007
e-Learning to dive on line is a hot new program by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors. About the program PADI Staff Instructor Elbert Greer said,” In my twenty years of experience certifying tourists for SCUBA Diving in Belize I’ve learned that the difficult part is not getting my students to jump into the warm, clear Caribbean water with a tank on their back, It’s getting them to read and study the manual or sit and watch a DVD in the classroom while they are distracted by being on vacation near that warm, clear Caribbean water. Instructors call this book work and study part of the course Knowledge Development, and it’s the hardest part of my job.
With this new Knowledge Development online, student divers will have done this part of the course at home with me guiding then through as a instructor, wasting no time after arriving before they get to the warm, clear Caribbean part. E-Learning is not a short cut. In many ways it’s more thorough. Computer-based learning can result in increased retention and a stronger grasp of the subject matter, because many elements - like audio, video, quizzes and interaction - are combined to support learning.
Completing knowledge development online is different from using the open water book. The online knowledge development portion of the course is an enhanced version. What differs is that in addition to text and video content, the online version incorporates audio presentations, graphics and animations that clarify information as well as interactive assessments with me, your virtual instructor.
Student divers sign up for the course online at www.scubalessonsbelize.com . Once a diver signs up, I receive an email notification that a new student diver has enrolled in the course. From that point I can interact with the student diver by phone, email or chats - depending upon individual preferences. This allows me to answer any student diver questions, provide local diving information, discuss dive equipment or what ever the student needs to feel comfortable, confident and prepared for their Belize diving experiences.
As student divers move through each section of the course, they show that they are meeting learning objectives by answering Quick Quiz questions throughout the section or the Knowledge Review at the end. To reinforce learning, the system provides the correct answer and further explanation or review. When they are ready, student divers take the quiz for that section and again receive prescriptive feedback for any questions they answer incorrectly. This way, student divers are required to achieve 100 percent mastery of the subject matter prior to moving on to the next section.
Student divers are linked to interactive tutorials and online versions of the RDP (those tables that tell you how deep and how long you can dive). I track the student diver progress and help them along the way as necessary. Students have access to an online version of the PADI Open Water Diver Manual for reference during and after training.
After Student divers have successfully completed all online knowledge development segments they receive a PADI eLearning record, that’s a document that states the independent study portion of the course is complete and my job is suddenly a whole lot easer.
Do I sound excited? Just imagine what you will feel like with that E-Learning record in your hand looking out at the reef from under a coconut tree on Ambergris.