This June, PADI partnered with Akamai, a global leader in content and media distribution, to turbo charge the PADI eLearning® experience with cutting-edge server technology. People the world over have become increasingly accustomed to fast, high-quality, online experiences, and it’s vital that the dive industry continues to stand out in this ultra-competitive landscape.
Akamai works with companies (including Apple, Verizon, Sony, Disney and Yahoo) who distribute massive amounts of content globally. Their vast network comprises 216,000 servers housed in data centers spread throughout 120 countries around the world. Somewhere in the region of eighty-five percent of the world’s Internet users are within a single network hop of an Akamai server.
They will host PADI eLearning courses in a local data center, which means that divers in London, Sydney or Hong Kong won’t have to wait for a US-based server, they’ll pull content locally. This dramatically speeds up eLearning course performance. Some users could potentially see a several hundred percent improvement in speed. The most notable improvement will be video load time.
This technology is deployed in the background and is now fully propagated around the world; you will experience the improvement immediately on login to any eLearning course.
More improvements are in store later this year when PADI will upgrade the Learning Management System (LMS) that powers eLearning. This will enable features such as mobile-first responsive design, which fully supports mobile devices, phones and tablets, including iOS devices which are currently only supported by the Touch product line. This upgrade supports larger video resolutions so that divers using eLearning products on a desktop or laptop computer can size video all the way up to full screen in most cases. In addition, reduced file sizes will make PADI digital products load faster on mobile networks, and later in 2017, courses will run even when devices are not connected to the internet.
PADI eLearning courses will migrate to the new platform from late 2016 throughout 2017. Keep an eye out for details closer to the launch and make sure to let your divers (and potential divers) know about the state of the art learning experiences that await them.
“When speaking to my Instructors and my Open Water students, I hear nothing but praise for the eLearning courses. Instructors are spending less time in classrooms, more time in the water and the students are showing great results academically proving that eLearning is creating a more knowledgeable and a better prepared student. Because of this, we have all changed our sales pitch. Learning to dive does not involve reading a book anymore. Learn to dive anytime anyplace anywhere with eLearning” Phil O’Shea – Pavilion Dive Centre, Dubai (UAE)
“ELearning empowers students to ask important questions early in the courses enabling our instructors to better prepare confined and open water sessions within the scope of what the students have learned. ELearning by no means diminishes Instructor – student contact but rather emphasizes the scope and focus of what the student has learned allowing us to spend more time to teach diving where it matters…in the water!” Ernst Van der Poll – Pavilion Dive Centre, Dubai (UAE)
“The PADI eLearning Courses have now become an integral part of our dive store in the list of courses we provide. The fact we are a London based dive centre means we cater to a large number of city working divers, who do not always have the time for our normal 2 day Open Water Referral Course. The eLearning now gives them a bit more freedom and flexibility, in turn allowing us to run the courses at very short notice and whenever they choose. Whether it be after work mid-week or 1 day at the weekend. We have seen a large increase in the number of people preferring to take the eLearning option, as even I would lean towards an online theory course compared to a classroom based one.” Neil Thomas, Dive Ops Manager, London School of Diving (UK)
“The PADI e-Learning program has been a tremendous asset to our dive centre over the past few years. With our location on a tropical beach, our guests now have this fantastic option of completing the academic portion of their course online before they travel, thereby avoiding the classroom and going straight to the fun part – the Indian Ocean! Furthermore, we teach many student groups and find that the younger generation is more familiar with learning using online multimedia than the old school way of reading the manual. No matter the students’ age, we find they arrive well prepared with a thorough understanding of diving theory for whichever course they have completed. We have also invested in several desktop computers and wifi internet to create an e-Learning classroom allowing us to offer the program to walk-in customers as well as those who book in advance. The best part is we no longer have to carry a large stock of manuals in many languages, we can simply sign them up for e-learning in whichever language they prefer and they can complete the modules in their own time in the comfort of their hotel room over wifi, or in our e-Learning classroom. Well-done PADI for offering this fantastic program! ” Tammy Holter, Scuba Do Zanzibar
Read about the eLearning Avalanche
In 2007 PADI launched eLearning and since then the uptake has snowballed. It is now running at full speed down the mountain and to reap the increased revenue stream of new diver acquisition, and associated continuing education, you need to jump on board.
With so many consumers using the internet to educate themselves these days it follows that these people are a percentage of your future divers. They don’t want to wait for materials to begin learning. They want to learn online and learn now! These people have grown up using the Internet to read and shop and do just about everything else. You need to be ready to capture their web searches when they decide to start diving today.
PADI invites DSD participants to enrol onto the PADI Open Water Diver course. Many of them will simply click the eLearning button in the invitation taking them to the eLearning sign up page where they will affiliate themselves with a PADI Dive Centre to get their PADI. Are you and your website ready for eLearners and the potential boost in profits they bring? Is your Virtual Classroom set up and ready to interact with these customers? Now is the time to upload PADI’s NEW eLearning Banners to your website, Blog, Facebook page and so on to capture new business.
If you’d like to jump on and be part of the eLearning avalanche why not register for our eLearning Webinar during which we’ll give you more insight into the features and benefits of this educational medium. We’ll also provide you with tuition on setting up and enhancing your Virtual Classroom.
And to support you further with your eLearning business development we’ve got a great Sales offer for those of you who attend the webinar. Register today for the Webinar and boost your profits by becoming part of the eLearning avalanche.
The report includes all eLearners that affiliate with your instructor number or store and can be sorted by date range and downloaded in multiple file formats.
Go to the PADI Pros’ Site, choose the My Account tab and scroll down for the eLearning Payment Report link under My Applications.
Connecting with PADI Dive Centres or Resorts is even easier for millions of prospective divers with the PADI eLearning™ system.
Initially launched in 2007 with the PADI Open Water Diver Course Online, there are currently nine PADI eLearning programs offered in as many as nine languages each. The PADI eLearning juggernaut continues to gain steam as enrollments are up more than 26 percent in 2012 as compared to the same time last year.
Benefits of PADI eLearning to Dive Centres and Resorts
- You share revenue for student divers who affiliate with your business
- Your customers have another option for fitting knowledge developement into their busy lives
- Your new customers have received consistent education, equipment and experience promotions
- New divers are delivered to your store
The goals of the PADI eLearning model are simple:
- To increase entry-level diver enrolments by expanding dive centre business hours to 24/7
- To drive new, enthusiastic student divers to the dive centre to fulfill not only their training completion needs, but also all of their diving needs
- To help interest divers in more dive education, equipment and experiences
PADI’s eLearning model works one of three ways:
- PADI Dive Centres and Resorts can choose to place a link on their website that allows new student divers to sign up for online knowledge development learning. This automatically affiliates the diver with that store.
- Potential divers who find the eLearning link on padi.com will be prompted to first affiliate with a local PADI Dive Centre or Resort before continuing on to the eLearning site.
- PADI Dive Centres and Resorts can purchase eLearning gift passes for their students. These can be mailed directly to the divers which also automatically affiliates the diver with that store. This is very useful if you offer a package which includes the eLearning fee.
eLearning is all about convenience – the opportunity to begin and continue diver education beginning on the internet and continuing through PADI Dive Centres and Resorts. Through an interactive web-based program new students will read, hear and see the same material other student divers receive from interacting with the PADI Manuals, Video or Multimedia.
After enrolling, PADI’s eLearning system presents the student with interactive presentations that include videos, audio, graphics and reading. Short quizzes allow them to gauge their progress, and review and correct anything they might happen to miss. It lets them move through the program efficiently and at their own pace.
One of the most talked about benefits of PADI eLearning is how easy it is for PADI Members to offer the program. PADI has developed a set up program simple enough that anyone familiar with a keyboard and computer could easily navigate.
An outline to the basics of this program is available to PADI Retail & Resort Association Members on the PADI Pros site, including:
- How PADI Dive Centres and Resorts can prepare to welcome eLearners into their business
- What the eLearner experiences
- How PADI Dive Centres and Resorts can integrate eLearning into their current training programs
- What tools are available to help PADI Dive Centres and Resorts communicate with eLearners along with answers to other important questions on eLearning.
PADI Retail and Resort Association Members can get started by logging on to the PADI Pros site at padi.com and following the simple step-by-step instructions.
PADI Instructors can also be involved in the eLearning program.