So after attending the 4th quarter PADI update webinar I decided to drop a few dollars on the PADI Touch apps, Equipment Specialist and Open Water. At first I couldn’t figure out where to get them or how to make the purchase. All online searches led to the PADI Asia sites which couldn’t help me (I am not a PADI Asia member). So how did I get the apps? Well I didn’t…not exactly.
First of all I looked on the PADI website and and found that I could easily find the Open Water touch on the normal PADI eLearning portal then choosing touch options. The only one that came up was Open Water though. So digging a bit further I found this helpful link to the step-by-step guide to touch products. It was a good thing that I did because I would say it wasn’t intuitive. This is because PADI Pros can purchase Touch credits for their students. Big deal right? Well maybe it is…
This means that, as a PADI Pro who is independent of a shop, can purchase Touch products at a member rate versus paying full PADI retail. One way to increase profits or offer better discounts. This also means that you as the PADI Pro won’t miss out on eSales and can actually stand behind the new products. Currently (and please correct me if I am incorrect) only PADI centers (shops, retailers or whatever other name they can go by) are the only one’s who see returns from e-sales for eLearning (via a check/deposit of the student’s original online purchase).
Ok back to how it all works with the new Touch Products (specifically for independent instructors)… under your PADI Pro account go to Online PIC Processing and choose the NEW Processing. Then choose add Touch credits. Once they display on your account you assign them to a student (email is sent to student for activation).
The student will now open the email and click on the link adding their information and it is automatically linked to their PADI Library. The student WILL have to have a compatible device and operating system and will have to install the PADI Library app on that device. Once it’s installed the courses should automatically display and the student will be able to download the content for offline use.
Here’s what happened in my case…I received the email (from myself as an instructor to myself as the student) and registered the Equipment Specialist Touch. I then opened up my PADI Library App and the Equipment Specialist course popped right up in my library. I clicked download and waited for it to complete. Once it was downloaded I was able to use it and see all the animations/videos etc. Too easy.
Since I also purchased the Open Water Touch I went through the same process…email sent, email received, product registered with my PADI Library. However this time I only saw the eRDP(ml), RDP (imperial) and RDP (metric) applications display…no Open Water information at all. This was frustrating because I had spent s decent amount of money. I logged out, logged in, restarted my “i device” and still nothing. I triple verified that my “i device” was supported and current in iOS (it is). I will admit I was a bit angry…if this was a student this would not be good…what if this was a student that was not an expert user on mobile devices?
Not satisfied with not having access to my course I pulled out my iPad and low and behold my Open Water Touch course was available; it seems that even though the Equipment Specialist is fully available via iPhone the Open Water Touch is not. This will change starting 01 January 2015. Last night I spoke with a PADI representative who was nice enough to field a few questions for me regarding several topics as well as why I couldn’t see all of my Touch courses on my i-Device. He confirmed that Open Water touch is only available on the iPad (for iDevices) but it will be available for all (compatible) iDevice platforms (i.e. iPhone) come the first of the year.
After looking at the Open Water Touch product I can understand why PADI chose to make this limitation initially. The screens on iPhone 5 and previous models are simply to small for primary learning but what if a student just needs a quick reference? I think that this is why the change is occurring. The new iPhone 6 and 6 plus will provide a better viewing platform for the Touch series.
In conclusion (based on the Equipment Specialist) app PADI has done a lot to make learning fun, entertaining and modern. The Touch series are going to be the future and they are good however I would say that the Equipment Specialist is lacking a bit substance. I would have hoped that PADI would have put more information into the course since it is in fact meant to augment a Specialty Course. I could be biased after years of researching on my own and reading highly technical books like regulator repair and oxygen cleaning, so take what I say with a grain of salt and know that I am not saying it was a bad purchase or regrettable…I just want more. Perhaps I would request for an Advanced Equipment Specialist Touch course.
With all that being said I would still recommend the Touch products to any instructor as a great way for students to learn. This is especially true now that the Open Water touch product includes the PIC fee, and the student can complete all quizzes and final exam on their own as well. Let’s not forget another great asset the eRDPml. Having this on your smart devices and that you now can carry one with you no matter where you are. No batteries to worriy about and one less thing to buy. The interface is almost identical, only difference is with the ease of which a diver can change between metric and imperial, no more battery compartment to break with a small screwdriver…just click the change. This is a definite plus!