PADI - How to check version/validity of training materials

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Zeke XA3

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Ive been out of full time teaching for a few years but in a niche spot right now with a lot of fellow professionals (boat captains) with a bit of spare time and energy wanting to get certified.

Ive being re-learning a lot of the PADI material and now i have some potential to do some specialties etc. I have amassed a lot of files/products over the years. Some physical and some digital. I left a lot of stuff when i stopped managing a dive store in Oz some years ago and traveled. Some stuff i managed to digitize or obtain digital copies of, others i didn't.

Without emailing a full list to someone at PADI and hoping they take the time to answer, how can i check that the versions of specialty guides/manuals/videos etc are in date? Since the only way i can see is to buy another copy and check the versions match.

Slightly further complicated by the fact i tend to go everything digital now, i would have to buy a physical copy of a specialty instructor guide, ship it to my PO box in USA, then get it shipped to Bahamas where i am now. I have manually checked my forms (for example the new medical), read through several years of Training Updates and of course useing the new Instructor Manual each year.
 

oly5050user

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Depending on how long you have been inactive you may need to do something as simple as a update or worst case may be required to attend a idc /ie . Call PADI and they can tell you what is required to get you into teaching status. Online eLearning is now used extensively is a change now from a few years ago . I find students constantly come to class better prepared
 

Zeke XA3

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Depending on how long you have been inactive you may need to do something as simple as a update or worst case may be required to attend a idc /ie . Call PADI and they can tell you what is required to get you into teaching status. Online eLearning is now used extensively is a change now from a few years ago . I find students constantly come to class better prepared

Cheers, i haven't been non teaching etc at all , just not full time teaching. I have taught some open waters, guided and DSDs every year in my current job since leaving dive boats. I know elearning is used a lot but its a pain that i dont have access to any to see what the students see. I regularly get asked "the video said this", "the questions is this" without context so its hard to answer sometimes. But i have a lot of specialty guides, videos and pdf manuals that im not sure if are current or not.
 

boulderjohn

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IMO, this is a serious issue with PADI. It is really hard to know what the current rules are because there is no central location for the changes that have been made over the years. Those changes occur quarterly in training bulletins, but there is no central place to find them all. I will give an example.

I had a lengthy discussion with a senior member of PADI management on the topic of overhead environments, with the discussion starting with statements in the PADI wreck diving specialty. To sum up a key part of the discussion quickly, PADI has a number of statements warning divers not to go into overhead environments without proper training. I pointed out that PADI-associated dive operations around the world routinely take or allow divers to go through various kinds of swim throughs (coral tunnels, lava tubes, wheelhouses of wrecks, etc.) without any indication from PADI that there is anything wrong with that. The reply was, believe it or not, that swim-throughs are not considered to be overhead environments. Where does it say that in any PADI materials? I asked. Well, it doesn't say that anywhere, but all PADI professionals have to know that because the 4th quarter Training Bulletin in 2001 clearly said it is OK to take an OW student through a swim-through during OW training if in the instructor's judgment the student is sufficiently skilled and has been instructed on it before the dive.

The 2001 training bulletin was published about 4 years before I became a DM. They were all on paper then, so there is no way I would have a copy. That was then, however, the only place you will find evidence that it is OK to go through a swim-through without something along the lines of cave diver certification. There is now one more place--if you check out the 3rd quarter 2018 Undersea Journal, you will find a short article that quotes me (by name) with language describing proper preparation and training for swim-throughs.

A few days ago I talked with a PADI Course Director who had no idea about the 2001 Fourth Quarter training bulletin, and he insisted PADI standards forbid such things. He insisted that something must have been published since then to contradict that, but if so, then the PADI leader with whom I spoke was unaware of it. If such a document exists, it could be almost anywhere, and there is no way to know where to look. If there were any way to prove it, would be willing to bet that 95% of PADI professionals do not know the PADI policy on this, and they would not think to check the 2001 fourth quarter training bulletin to find out.

So, going back to the wreck diving specialty, if you look at it carefully, you will see it say in no uncertain terms that divers should never "penetrate" a wreck without laying a line. Nowhere in there will you see it say that "penetration" only occurs when you enter and leave through the same point--a swim-through is not a penetration and can be done by anyone in accordance with good judgment. Nowhere in there does it say that "never" means until you have more training and experience, but that is what they mean. (If the course is ever revised, my explanation of all of this will supposedly be included.)
 

Zeke XA3

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I agree with all your points and we could go on for a long time about swim troughs and best practice.

The PADI site is terrible (even the basic search functions dont work), information is hard to find and much of it is restricted by paywalls (i gave up looking for the 2020 price list today as i wanted to know spec application costs and ended up finding info via other dive shops in SE Asia) . Im hoping they solve this in the new update but i have written several emails over the last few months about how information is hard to find or contradictory between training bulletins, manuals and forms but never seen any change. Ive even sent emails suggesting things like having change logs, current versions on the site but never heard anything back. And dont get me started on the fact that nearly all their material is either physical or video. I have so much more digital material from TDI/SSI/RAID/GUE/BSAC and i dont teach any of them./ end rant

But if there is not some secret method im just going to have to email a list of documents and version numbers and ask if they are valid.
 

tursiops

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IMO, this is a serious issue with PADI. It is really hard to know what the current rules are because there is no central location for the changes that have been made over the years. Those changes occur quarterly in training bulletins, but there is no central place to find them all. I will give an example.

I had a lengthy discussion with a senior member of PADI management on the topic of overhead environments, with the discussion starting with statements in the PADI wreck diving specialty. To sum up a key part of the discussion quickly, PADI has a number of statements warning divers not to go into overhead environments without proper training. I pointed out that PADI-associated dive operations around the world routinely take or allow divers to go through various kinds of swim throughs (coral tunnels, lava tubes, wheelhouses of wrecks, etc.) without any indication from PADI that there is anything wrong with that. The reply was, believe it or not, that swim-throughs are not considered to be overhead environments. Where does it say that in any PADI materials? I asked. Well, it doesn't say that anywhere, but all PADI professionals have to know that because the 4th quarter Training Bulletin in 2001 clearly said it is OK to take an OW student through a swim-through during OW training if in the instructor's judgment the student is sufficiently skilled and has been instructed on it before the dive.

The 2001 training bulletin was published about 4 years before I became a DM. They were all on paper then, so there is no way I would have a copy. That was then, however, the only place you will find evidence that it is OK to go through a swim-through without something along the lines of cave diver certification. There is now one more place--if you check out the 3rd quarter 2018 Undersea Journal, you will find a short article that quotes me (by name) with language describing proper preparation and training for swim-throughs.

A few days ago I talked with a PADI Course Director who had no idea about the 2001 Fourth Quarter training bulletin, and he insisted PADI standards forbid such things. He insisted that something must have been published since then to contradict that, but if so, then the PADI leader with whom I spoke was unaware of it. If such a document exists, it could be almost anywhere, and there is no way to know where to look. If there were any way to prove it, would be willing to bet that 95% of PADI professionals do not know the PADI policy on this, and they would not think to check the 2001 fourth quarter training bulletin to find out.

So, going back to the wreck diving specialty, if you look at it carefully, you will see it say in no uncertain terms that divers should never "penetrate" a wreck without laying a line. Nowhere in there will you see it say that "penetration" only occurs when you enter and leave through the same point--a swim-through is not a penetration and can be done by anyone in accordance with good judgment. Nowhere in there does it say that "never" means until you have more training and experience, but that is what they mean. (If the course is ever revised, my explanation of all of this will supposedly be included.)
I agree with all your points and we could go on for a long time about swim troughs and best practice.

The PADI site is terrible (even the basic search functions dont work), information is hard to find and much of it is restricted by paywalls (i gave up looking for the 2020 price list today as i wanted to know spec application costs and ended up finding info via other dive shops in SE Asia) . Im hoping they solve this in the new update but i have written several emails over the last few months about how information is hard to find or contradictory between training bulletins, manuals and forms but never seen any change. Ive even sent emails suggesting things like having change logs, current versions on the site but never heard anything back. And dont get me started on the fact that nearly all their material is either physical or video. I have so much more digital material from TDI/SSI/RAID/GUE/BSAC and i dont teach any of them./ end rant

But if there is not some secret method im just going to have to email a list of documents and version numbers and ask if they are valid.
I assume you can get to the PADI Pro Site (classic version) at no cost. What are the Paywalls you speak of? If you contact a sales consultant they will send you free of charge a complete price list at no charge.
ALL the Training Bulletins from 1994 are on line as pdf files, free. https://www2.padi.com/mypadi/pros/training-essentials/searchable-training-bulletins/english/
The 2001 4Q bulletin boulderjohn spoke of is there (attached). What it says is here:
upload_2020-10-10_14-11-8.png


By the way, 3rdQ 2009 says:
upload_2020-10-10_14-35-34.png

If you didn't know it was there, my suggestion is to download all the TBs into one large pdf files and use a decent search function on it.
Search 1994 - 2020 with "swim through" you find the quote above is the ONLY place it is mentioned in 26 years of Training Bulletins. You have to conclude that some lava tubes must not be swim throughs, whereas others are. The key is "short."

To your point of finding the latest version of stuff:
The TBs list hundreds of corrections and/or standards changes to the training materials, that are in many cases :effective immediately" but do not get incorporated into a new version of the materials for perhaps quite some time....you are expected to enter these changes manually into your materials. So you may have the latest version, but it is not usable until YOU update it. For example, the latest RB (4Q2020) is just 8 poages long, but has two pages of "clarifications" of things in the materials (that you are supposed to write into your versions) and three pages of 'corrections" as well.

My point is: you may have the latest version of something, but it may not be up-to-date unless you go through the TBs and update it. Your best chance to actually be up-to-date is to purchase a just-published version of something.....and then hope there are no corrections to it for a while.

Unfortunately, PADI does not say in its sales section of its website what the revision date and version number of its specialty guides are. The product numbers remain the same through all the versions. Even the PriceList just gives the product number.

If I were you, I'd work with my regional manager, not PADI HQ. And don't forget their main business is selling training materials.....so of course they will tell you to just buy the latest.
 

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Zeke XA3

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Tursiops,

I am aware of how to find the TB on the padi site, and have them all downloaded to my current PC. I would have been able to find the other osters article if i was looking for it since he stated which quarter and year.

As for we are supposed to update our materials manually. For this to happen, thousands of Instructors would need to purchase or learn how to access pdf editors to edit the PADI protected PDFs, then save their versions (with all the problems that entails, ie what if they accidnelty delete another part without knowing etc) . Versus the more common method of a content creator updating PDFs, so every on has the exact same change, and amending file names with versions. Or as to you other suggestion, every instructor must buy an electronic device capable of processing several years of TB into one pdf, and know how to do such a thing.
 

Zeke XA3

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Tursiops,

I am aware of how to find the TB on the padi site, and have them all downloaded to my current PC. I would have been able to find the other posters article if i was looking for it since he stated which quarter and year.

As for "we are supposed to update our materials manually", for this to happen, thousands of Instructors would need to purchase or learn how to access pdf editors to edit the PADI protected PDFs, then save their versions (with all the problems that entails, ie what if they accidnelty delete another part without knowing etc) . Versus the more common method of a content creator updating PDFs, so every one has the exact same change, and amending file names with versions. Or as to you other suggestion, every instructor must buy an electronic device capable of processing several years of TB into one pdf, and know how to do such a thing. Interestingly, if you use the PADI library app, it does have a search function where all the Undersea Journals are. It just doesn't work.

Now the years worth of corrections are very easy for each professional to be aware of until they are incorporated into the yearly update.Back in the day it was easy to print out corrections and stick them in over the original in the instrucotr binder. The clarifications is a bit of a less clear area. Exactly how far back to you expect a pro to read through the QB. Personally i would have organized something like an annual clarification summary removing things and replacing them as they become and fall out of relevance. After all PADI employs a number of people to create this content its not much work to add some organisation in.

Your next point is the opposite of my point. Right now i am able to teach several specialties , i have training material for those specialties, but i haven't taught them for some time. Because the code for buying them is the same (i have no problem with this) but no version is listed i don't know if i can teach using these materials. For nearly anything else i use updated "rules" for i can go to the organization and see straight away the last update/version and know if i have the newest version of not (computer software driver, country laws on boat building, classifications society on updates to safety equipment). With PADI it seems i have two options, email and wait for a reply or buy a new set of materials "just in case". I would never being comfortable "hoping there are no corrections for a while" i need to know whether there are or are not before i teach. And again, if i was part of the system here, i would have the PADI price list, which will list how much some things that cant b bought in the shop are, available for download. It seems a waste to have to email someone to get a copy of something that could be in the members area very easily.

This is part of what i mean by a paywall. If i want to check if something is current i have to buy it. If i want to see what the course content is for any PADI eLearning course, i have to buy it myself. With the book method i could at least look at the book. Now if a student ask me i don't understand this bit in section 2 of the rescue diver course....how can i help? If they are tech savvy and i have the time and equipment i can remote in to their desktop to view their screen, if not get them to use their phone to take a photo of the screen to send it to me.

The point of the post was if there was a way to check a version validity since i had a potential student come to me Friday, which means i wont get an answer by email until at least Tuesday now. If there was a way to just look up a version i could proceed with no delay. Off the back of that i was looking at purchasing new materials but half the items are not under the headings in the shop nor under the words consisting of their name, one i found via google, another dive shop stock with the PADI code on it that i was then able to put into the PADI shop to find.

Im not here to PADI bash, just find some answers while i await for replies from PADI direct, but there are many small things that could be improved with very little effort, and a few that should not have needed repairing in the first place! Unfortunately i do shoot myself in the foot a lot as i hate talking to people by phone and much prefer emails for chain of communication etc and do a lot of my work late evening/night after my other day job is done (often during which i cant have a phone on me).
 

tursiops

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Might I suggest you search your TB files for whatever specialty it is you want to teach and see if the material has changed. Most of it has changed very little, and where it has changed a lot (like Boat) you DO need the new material. You won't even have to make a phone call. All the entire pdf file is less than 48MB so it is not a big deal to store and use. At the risk of you saying you already knew it, I'll also suggest you combine all your TB files into one big one, so you can just search once.
I'm sorry the world is not the way you'd like it to be, I'm trying to offer you suggestions to help you deal with the way things are.
 

Zeke XA3

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Tursiops, no it was a great suggestion i was just pointing out that its not the best way IMO for the agency or majority of people. I am a bit more tech literate than many and have a decent computer so i am going to do something like combine them for searching just got to find a program that is cheap/free. I am currently sifting through 2 laptops and 2 Hardrives of backups to pull out most current versions of things (i have Course Director CD-ROMS from 2003, Spec guides in black and white dated 2005 and colored ones from 2007!).

But once ive done that i will need to verify with PADI everything i have and place an order for some new material.

It was just passing comments that things could be better, easier and that they would not be hard to introduce, like i said earlier im hoping that the new update to the PADI site addresses many of these issues. Im also looking forward to my free passes at renewal so i can access a bunch of PADI eLearning materials for myself!
 
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