Written by David Espinosa, PADI Executive, Content Development
There are many reasons PADI® has been the leader in training scuba divers for more than 50 years, but tops among them is that while PADI’s educational materials are instructionally valid, easy on the eye, and functional, they never stop evolving. Case in point: What started more than a decade ago with the introduction of eLearning eventually led to Touch products, and now to an even simpler way of digital delivery.
That simpler way of digital delivery is just one of the goals of PADI’s Digital Optimization Project, which began in August 2017. “We realize the value and convenience an engaging eLearning™ experience can offer PADI Members and their student divers,” says Ted Moreta, Vice President Product Management, PADI Worldwide. “To support this, we’ve made a commitment to improve the user journey and expand our selection of languages and digital product offerings across core courses.”
The overall project is made up of many smaller projects touched by dozens of people all around the world, and includes migrating and optimizing digital products from Touch products to the newer Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) platform; translating those products into dozens of languages; and, finally, making those products easier to purchase and access by consumers.
Here’s a look at what’s new and already available for PADI Members, and what’s coming down the line.
DPS Moves to AEM
The title above is a mouthful, but it is simple: All existing products using Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite (DPS, aka “Touch”) are migrating to the AEM platform, which is a better user experience.
There are several key benefits to the new AEM platform. One is that users can search a given product for key words. For example, a student who wants to study up on dive computers can do so in Open Water Diver eLearning (more about digital nomenclature later) by searching the key words “dive computer,” which brings up all sections in which that term is used.
Another highlight is that any updates to course content can be done quickly and without disruption to the end user. When content is updated, it’s available for the user to view on the next log in to the product. Videos will also be embedded in the materials now – no streaming option – which will allow for a better user experience in areas with spottier internet connection, and navigation within the products is intuitive and user friendly.
The PADI Library app you’re familiar with will be updated to support the new AEM product platform. In addition, online users will have access to the new Training Center on padi.com, which will house all eLearning products and helpful guidelines for using the PADI Library. Another benefit of the new PADI Library is that it allows for faster download speeds, and users will now have two options when deciding how to conduct their independent study: they can access their materials online or users can choose to download the full product (for offline use) or download section by section.
Because an AEM product can be accessed on any device – via the web viewer on a desktop or laptop computer, and on Android or iOS smartphones and tablets – all digital products will simply be referred to as eLearning. Open Water Diver eLearning and Freediver eLearning launch first, with Enriched Air Diver eLearning, ReActivate® eLearning, Advanced Open Water Diver eLearning, Rescue Diver eLearning and Discover Scuba® Diving eLearning hot on their heels.
In addition to migrating digital products to Adobe Experience Manager, the number of languages these programs and courses will be available in is expanding. Open Water Diver eLearning and Advanced Open Water Diver eLearning will be available in 25 languages; Enriched Air Diver eLearning, Rescue Diver eLearning and Discover Scuba Diving eLearning available in 21; Freediver eLearning will be available in 13 languages, and ReActivate eLearning in 10. (Look for Emergency First Response, Divemaster and the Instructor Development Course to be reintroduced as new eLearning products later this year.)
One benefit of having such a wide range of languages for all of these courses is that stores won’t need to choose which languages to carry in their inventory. All digital products use a single code, the student diver simply needs to buy the product and choose the language. That is both a benefit to the business with respect to inventory but also to the student diver as language selection is seamless.
Simplified Registration Process
A large part of the project is to not just make it easier for consumers to use the products, but also to make it easier for them to access the products. Using feedback from PADI Members, the login/single-sign on (SSO)/registration process has been “reskinned” with an updated user interface (UI) that makes registering more intuitive. The development team also fixed known bugs and improved the speed by which registration takes place. What’s more, the registration page has also been translated into 25 languages and is now mobile responsive, so your students can sign on and start learning quicker than ever before, leaving you to do what you do best: teach.