Scuba certification classes have evolved over the years. In the early days of the scuba industry the equipment was pretty minimal, some of it even a little scary! Because of the primitive equipment, requirements for certification were much more rigorous. To get certified you had to be an excellent swimmer and you had to be in great shape. You had to attend many class sessions and even more sessions in the water swimming laps and practicing survival skills.
Over the years as diving equipment evolved so did the certification process. Advances in equipment made it easier to dive, you no longer had to be an elite waterman to enjoy the sport and earn a scuba certification. This is neither good or bad, it’s just what it is. As the diving industry grew and became larger over the years training agencies and equipment manufacturers have tried to make the sport of scuba more inviting to the general population.
One of the biggest changes to take place in recent years was the introduction of “eLearning“. eLearning has taken part of the scuba certification process away from the diving instructor (knowledge development) and put it in the hands of the student. This is neither good or bad, most students will put forth the same effort and spend the same amount of time learning theory as they would had there been an instructor guiding them through it. But, many instructors feel that eLearning is bad because the students lose an important aspect of the training, that being the instructors experiences. But instructors have plenty of opportunities during pool and open water training to give students their opinion on anything they feel needs to be emphasized or covered more thoroughly. Lets be real, do you “learn” to dive in the water, or in a classroom. Sitting in the classroom listening to lectures is great and can add a lot to a class if the information being presented is relevant but getting in the water and diving is where the real learning happens.
eLearning allows students to learn at their own pace, on their own schedule. I haven’t seen any major disadvantages to eLearning programs on the students end. You get out of it what you put in, nothing more, nothing less. So fear not, sign up for an eLearning class and start working on your next certification.