Becoming an instructor, regardless of agency, takes a huge amount of time and dedication, and RAID is seeking to make that process more-efficient with the release of new instructor materials.
Paul Toomer, President of RAID International, said: “One of RAID’s primary goals as an agency is to keep our teaching methodology in line with technical and teaching advancements across all educational industries.
“RAID released its last update to the Instructor and Instructor Trainer programs in 2014, and now we have announced the release of our new instructor-level core programs: Instructor Development Program (IDP), Instructor Trainer Program (ITP) and Instructor Playbook.
“Since RAID is an entirely digital agency, we are, by default, prescriptive teaching experts, and this can present a host of problems when designing an education system. Many educational models are based on an instructor delivering an entire presentation to their audience. With prescriptive teaching, this is not the case, since the instructor is only asked to deliver small bites of information based on what the student has missed while working through the online academics.”
New academic teaching methodology
Meeting the prerequisites to become a RAID instructor is not an easy task, which is made more difficult with the typical need to shoehorn certain topics into academic presentations that are totally unrelated to those topics. For example, how does one introduce continuing education into a discussion on physics or physiology?
Paul continued: “We analyzed our entire program and identified areas that we felt needed modernizing. Instructor candidates often complain that they find it outdated, cumbersome and stressful when the topics of dive travel, dive equipment and continuing education are forced together in an unrelated presentation – an industry-standard practice – during their IDP. We have listened and have made the classroom presentations less complicated, more appropriate and more fun.
“How did we achieve this? By adding mandatory workshops – Equipment, Continuing Education and Local Diving and Travel – as integral parts of every RAID course, we have removed the need to insert these topics into any unrelated presentations or academic discussions.
“This means that, even if a student gets 100 percent on all quizzes and exams, they will receive vital instructor input regarding these specific areas.”
A critical improvement to the instructional package is the addition of the Instructor Playbook. This single manual replaces the old confined water and open water instructor guides.
Paul explained: “The new Playbook has been reworked from scratch and is designed to be an invaluable teaching resource for new and experienced instructors alike. There is an expansive introduction, a full listing of the skills specific to each dive and each program – including skill objectives, values and student actions – and, of course, vital teaching tips for each and every core level skill.
“We feel the new Instructor Playbook is an innovative and fresh approach to scuba instruction.”
Paul said: “From the business perspective, there has never been a better time to crossover to RAID, and we are inundated with requests from professionals who feel their current agencies are not giving them enough value. Because the pandemic is causing so many issues with travel and traditional scuba-training methods, we took the time to design a REMOTe-Training instructor crossover. By taking advantage of our new IDP designs and utilizing advances in technology, we are able to confidently, safely and conveniently bring approved instructors to RAID while maintaining our high standards.
“Our instructor crossover process involves the use of our online manuals, quizzes and exams.
Audio-visual platforms are used to deliver presentations and evaluate academic teaching ability. Skill evaluation is via a seamless, one-take video recording of crossover candidates performing the RAID crossover skill circuit. The RAID crossover is still focused and structured and is not a ‘magic wand' solution where instructor certifications are awarded without effort.
“The process is fair and simple, and it helps meet the increased demand from serious professional diving educators who want to join RAID so they can give their students the best possible training at every level.”