Value of Using the Online Leadership Training Programs

 By Dennis Pulley


In 2009 SDI completely revised the divemaster, assistant instructor and open water scuba diver instructor leadership training programs. In addition to updating all of the information presented in each program, SDI achieved another industry first by offering online academics for each of these leadership courses.
The use of online training has been used extensively in many various training settings such as higher education, employment training as well as recreational areas. Attending a class and sitting for hours on end to learn the required information is not always the best option for many students these days. Using the online system, candidates can complete all the pre-course studies online and as such, they will be better prepared to participate in the class.
Some instructors see online training as a potential threat that diminishes the quality of the candidates’ skills and abilities. The reality is that online training simply trades printed material for digital material.
For each of the programs listed above, candidates can sign up anytime and begin their training at their leisure thereafter. Depending on the course structure, the instructor may assign specific sections — or the entire program, to be completed before the first face-to-face academic session. After a candidate has begun a course the instructor can track the student’s progress and detect if he is having difficulties with any of the information. This allows the instructor to target his one-on-one time with the candidate to help improve the student’s knowledge in the areas identified as below average.
Another benefit of using the tracking system is that the instructor can determine if a candidate has any weak areas. Should the instructor determine that a candidate does have a weak area, the instructor may have the candidate prepare a short presentation covering that information. This will require the candidate to learn more about that subject and be able to explain it in terms they are comfortable with.
Since the instructor will not need to spend countless hours in the classroom, more time is available for the practical application, skill training, classroom and water presentations and the “how-to” of working with students and divers.
Trading time normally spent in the classroom for practical time with the students allows the instructor to focus more his attention on helping the students develop their leadership skills. The consequence of this is new dive leaders that are better prepared to lead and train divers.
Dive stores that pre-purchase online training codes have the flexibility to package and price the entire course to meet their needs. For instance, if a candidate is to be hired as an employee, or already is an employee of the facility, the package can be minimal. This may be applied as an employment benefit on contracted based on a specific amount of work after the candidate has completed the course. In comparison, the package for a non-affiliated candidate may include the fees for online training, printed materials, water use fees, gas, training fees and any additional fee. In this scenario, candidates get a single, upfront cost for the entire program.
Dive leaders that enroll in the online academic training also receive a copy of the printed  SDI training materials for the program they are completing that can be used for  future reference.
“The SDI Online Divemaster program revolutionized the way I teach the DM course!  The candidates come to the first session fully prepared, and we spend our time together developing leadership skills and abilities rather than delivering lectures on background knowledge and dive theory.  In the past, I commonly spent 3-4 days in the classroom with a candidate before getting them to the pool.  With the online course, we spent about 6 hours in the classroom, then off to the pool. Best of all, it seems the candidates really learned the material, rather than studying it simply to pass a test.
Brian Shreve
SDI IT-9016
Heartland Scuba
Lincoln, NE

“The online program allowed me to work at my own pace and review the information without someone looking over my shoulder. I especially liked the way the program allowed me to work on my own time schedule vs a typical classroom setting. I was able to complete the pre-course studies according to my personal schedule whether it was two hours a day or six hours a day. The quizzes at the end of each chapter confirmed I understood the material and could not just can skip through it.”


Dan Erickson
Divemaster Candidate
Heartland Scuba

Lincoln, NE


Remember, by using the online training programs an instructor has more tools available to help them follow the academic progress of each student which allows them to tailor the training program to each candidate’s specific needs.


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