Scuba Training: Week 2

July 24, 2010

Week 2 of the family scuba certification and training progressed along nicely. My 11 yr-old continued to study independently and did very well in the pool and on his tests. He seems to have a really good grasp on doing everything ‘by the book’ and is very attentive and mature about things. He re-trained me on putting equipment together and buddy checking and I got a “good job Mom” out of it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said “good job” to him and I nearly teared up.

My 14-yr old decided scuba is not for her. She just wasn’t having fun in the pool and, since it’s supposed to be a recreational sport, it didn’t make sense for her to continue when she wasn’t really comfortable. I’m glad she tried it. It’s good too because I had my own case of anxiety in the pool and we’ll likely be snorkeling buddies. I’m not, however, throwing in the towel yet and am going to venture into the pool next week again because I didn’t think I gave it my best shot. I will regret it if I don’t.

Next week there may be an additional instructor for crybabies so perhaps that will make me less freakazoid about the whole thing. I feel the need to over train with an instructor vs. re-familiarize myself with the skills.

< overshare > I think that’s because there seems to be this switch that goes on sometimes when you’re a parent and you can easily become hypervigilant. In my mind I’m not really worrying about myself, I’m worrying about something happening to my kids due to my (possible) inability to respond to some problem like entanglement. And I think there’s something else at play – the remembrance of having to be bagged and resuscitated during childbirth eleven years ago. (Short story: my epidural block moved, paralyzing my diaphragm and I could not breathe). So instead of focusing on skills, I’m focusing on mistakes before they are made with a dash of ‘am I getting enough air here?’ I know right?  Why don’t you bring all your baggage into the pool? < /overshare >

My 16 year-old returned from camp and successfully performed all the basic skills without a problem and did perfect on the test. This did not surprise me. He approached driving the same way.

The boys went to a three-hour, instructor-led class and I completed two units of the e-learning course instead. Each unit in the e-learning course looks like it will take about 45 minutes to complete. The course was built with Articulate. There are frequent quizzes (every several slides) which is good because there’s over 100 slides to look at in each unit. I think the material is from the text mixed with video which you can also buy separately from PADI. There are also links to resources. Each unit ends in a test. It’s a pretty standard tutorial.

Now the nit picking…

  • I don’t like the word “slide.” It’s a page. It’s the stuff from the book.
  • Text appears on the left which mirrors the audio. I know we do this for people who don’t want, don’t have, or can’t hear audio but I get distracted reading while being read to. I wanted a way to hide it.
  • If you fail a quiz, it takes you back to the beginning of the section. You can go through the section again or simply turn the pages and correct what you missed without getting any new information. Some branching would be nice that gives more information and a different question.
  • When you do fail a question your get “feedback.” Feedback, to me, is the language of IDs. I’d prefer to see “not quite,” “there’s a better answer,” or something less clinical. I like conversational e-learning.

All in all though, it is good for its purpose and good use of the tools at hand. It must have taken a long time to create. Kudos to the creators.

As with a lot of self-paced e-learning, one thing that’s lacking is “high touch” points of the classroom. You don’t get the stories. Like this…

Scuba Diver Girl Janine: Where do I start? I was doing my hypoxic trimix certification in the Caymans and got narc’d. I saw a sponge that I swore looked like Richard Nixon! So I gave my dive buddies the double – V “I am not a crook” gesture. They looked at me like WTF does that mean. Of course when we surfaced and I told them what I saw it was hilarious. I haven’t lived it down!

I think stories from longtime divers (or access to them in a community) to illustrate key safety points (narc’d)would be helpful for all but the psycho hypervigilant mother with a possible lingering case of post-traumatic stress. Hand me a Xanax already and wish me luck.

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