The Art of Infiltrating Cultures

PADI Divemaster – eLearning theory experience

Having a full time job is not the optimal way of doing your Divemaster course. Even if you have generous leave. I would say that if you can manage, taking a few months off is the ideal scenario. But not all of us can make that happen…

I wanted badly to do my DMT, but I could only take 1 month off. That meant that I needed to settle in having the course without an internship period to gain experience as a divemaster. But I could still get it done, according to the dive centres I spoke with – which were a lot, just to be safe.

I tried to look for information on doing my DMT but most blogs out there talked about their experience with their internship or talked about the different skills and hands-on work during their DMT. This was informative but not what I was looking for… I wanted to maximise my hands-on time and I was ready to do the theory beforehand, but was not sure about the length and nature of an eLearning course for the DMT. I kinda discovered this the hard way, which is why I am writing this little post – maybe you are in the same situation that I was in, and this can help you.


It comes out more expensive (much more expensive actually, it was about 240€ for the access to the eLearning, considering that you do not have access offline and that you have no physical “Divemaster Manual” book neither a PDF version to be able to reread or print portions of).

However, being at home or at the office, with access to a computer (or whatever stationery you choose to use), can also be helpful for the theory part. This is up to your way of studying.


If you have done your OW or later courses with PADI you are well aware of the PADI videos. They are easy, way too slow, and quite boring. (In fact, during my OW I watched the videos at 1.5x speed). If you are thinking that this is the same… well, kinda.

You have this PADI log in window:

Log-in window

And then you have the nine chapters and the support material (Tools).

Course progress

You study each chapter, which is a PowerPoint presentation / video, covering all topics. You can read the “Divemaster Manual” as well, especially for topics you find more challenging. However you CANNOT download the manual to print it and read it in paper, or even to read it offline on your computer. Big downer.

Chapter overview

At the beginning of each chapter, they list the learning objectives, questions that you are to be able to answer. Personally I wrote these down on a spreadsheet and answered them while watching, making it really easy to do the knowledge reviews and quizzes afterwards, and also to have notes to revise before the exam. Knowledge reviews and quizzes are in themselves a learning tool as you are able to redo a question that you failed, while getting information on why the answer was wrong. After successfully completing the knowledge review of each chapter, you are to go to the Assessment tab and sign that you have achieved that chapter. A very straight forward “Yes” and the chapter is covered.

Knowledge review assessment


  • It is more expensive.
  • The dive centre had to order my crewpack which didn’t come with the online course: DM manual (paper copy), encyclopedia of recreational diving, instructor manual with PADI cover, PADI DM bag, DM slates, eRDP and other bits and pieces.
  • I am not sure if it truly saved me time; maybe I could have studied the theory while doing the DMT, in the evenings… I cannot judge if this is true or if it had lengthened my programme or made it less enjoyable. I was pretty exhausted every evening but still, the exam was easy as hell.
  • Getting it out of the way gave me more time to focus on the water and demonstration skills, which were no joke. I was happy that I had already gone through the theory, and that I could do the exam right away.
  • Also, knowing myself, I know I appreciated having a laptop, stationery and a printer while doing the theory, as I was able to take notes to help me revise later. But this is out of nerdiness.
  • And continuing on the nerdy note, I was able to prepare some material to bring with me for the DMT and before the exam, like notes and tables, which helped me throughout.

If you are reading this it is probably because you consider taking the eLearning. Maybe you don’t have the possibility of a long DMT. Maybe you want to take your time to prepare the theory before your DMT. Or maybe you want to make the most of your water time, practising skills, instead of spending your afternoon reading through the theory. If that’s your situation, then the eLearning might be for you. In my case I wish I had had the opportunity of a DMT with internship, but having money AND time at once doesn’t seem to be the norm. I do not regret by any means having done the eLearning beforehand; money matters aside, preparing the divemaster theory before reaching my dive centre kept me enthusiastic, focused and efficient. And I would have liked to have that even if I had months ahead for my DMT.

Check out my Divemaster training in Fiji after the eLearning course.

What do you think?

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