Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of doing the theory part of your scuba lessons via PADI eLearning so you can decide whether this is going to be the best option for you.
PADI now offers the Open Water, Advanced Open Water and Nitrox/Enriched Air certifications as part eLearning courses. What this effectively means is that the theoretical part of these courses can be completed online, so you only have to do the practical parts with a dive school.
Pros of PADI eLearning
- In most cases, the PADI eLearning option will be cheaper than doing the course in a classroom setting. The only time this doesn’t really apply is if you are looking at the Nitrox course. There is less theoretical learning in the Nitrox course, so the cost is about the same whether you do that section online or as part of the practical training you’ll need to do anyway.
- You can work through it at your own pace. While you can do this with the books too to some degree, it allows you to make sure you are ready before you take the test at the end of each section, rather than being restricted by a class timetable.
- You can do it before you leave for your scuba trip. If you are going to learn to dive on vacation, doing the eLearning before you go means you won’t be stuck boning up on stuff from books while you are there, and you can get certified and ready to dive the rest of your time there faster. It also means you’ll have a much fuller idea of what to expect before you even set foot in a dive school!
- It is very flexible. You can fit your sessions around your life.
Cons of PADI eLearning
- You don’t get the same degree of support. While you will designate a dive school who you can post questions to as you complete your course if you find a concept hard to understand there isn’t a teacher there to instantly clarify things for you.
- You still have to do a second, smaller test with a dive school before you do the practice sessions, just to verify that you have learned everything properly.
Who is PADI eLearning Best Suited To?
Really, whether or not the PADI eLearning course is suitable for you over the classroom one depends on your existing level of confidence and knowledge around the theoretical and technical side of diving, and how you learn best as an individual.
If you are someone who is pretty adept with math and science and understands a lot already about how diving and diving gear works, you’ll find the eLearning a faster and more convenient way to get through the tests and get ready to take these skills into the water.
If you are someone who prefers being taught by a professional to researching and studying things on your own, then the conventional classroom approach will be better for you and give you the support you need.