Exploring the Best Fit: Virtual vs. In-Person Training – Weighing the Pros and Cons 

In today’s dynamic learning landscape, organizations and individuals are faced with choosing between virtual and in-person training options. It is a debate which has gained significant traction. Both methods offer unique advantages and challenges, making it essential to carefully consider which approach best aligns with specific learning objectives and preferences. In this blog post, we will delve into the pros and cons of each training method to help you make an informed decision on the best fit for your training needs. 

The Crossroad…

As we’re all aware, the landscape of the virtual world went through a significant transformation due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on both personal and professional lives. But even prior to the pandemic, the elearning market in the United States was estimated to grow to $6.22 billion between 2017-2022, according to Technavio (2018). Post-pandemic it is now expected to reach $336.98 billion by 2026, at a compound annual growth rate of 9.1% from 2018 to 2026 (Syngene Research, 2019). On the other hand, in-person training is still important. Face-to-face interaction can develop soft skills that otherwise are left behind. According to Georgetown University, more than 50% of students said online class discussions were not helpful to their learning and retention rates are 20-60% lower in online courses than in traditional courses (US National Library of Medicine).  


Virtual Training Pros and Cons:


  • Flexibility – Virtual training provides learners with the flexibility to participate from anywhere with an internet connection. This eliminates the constraints of geographical location and enables individuals to balance learning with personal and professional commitments.  
  • Accessibility – By transcending geographical barriers, virtual training promotes inclusivity and accessibility. Learners from diverse backgrounds and locations can access the same content, fostering a collaborate and global learning environment.  
  • Cost-Effectiveness – Compared to in-person training, virtual training typically incurs lower costs, both for organizers and participants. With no expenses related to venue rental, travel or accommodation, virtual training offers a budget- friendly alternative without compromising the quality of learning.  
  • Scalability – Virtual platforms can accommodate large numbers of participants simultaneously, making it easier to scale training programs to meet the demands of a growing audience. This scalability is particularly advantageous for organizations with dispersed teams or global operations. 
  • Interactive Tools  – Virtual training platforms often incorporate interactive features such as polls, quizzes and breakout rooms which enhance engagement and interactivity. These tools facilitate active participation and collaboration amount learners, leading to a more enriching learning experience. 


  • Technology Dependency – Virtual training is inherently reliant on technology, making it susceptible to technical issues such as poor internet connectivity, software glitches or hardware malfunctions. These disruptions can impede the learning process and frustrate participants.  
  • Lack of Personal Interaction  – One of the primary drawbacks of virtual training is the absence of face-to-face interaction. While virtual platforms offer communication tools, they may not fully replicate the interpersonal dynamics and camaraderie fostered in in-person settings. 
  • Distractions – Learners participating in virtual training sessions may encounter distractions from their environment such as household responsibilities, noise or digital distractions. These distractions can compromise focus and detract from the learning experience.  
  • Limited Hands-On Activities – Certain training topics require hands-on practice or experiential learning activities that are challenging to replicate in an online environment. This limitation may hinder the effectiveness of virtual training for practical skill development.  
  • Potential for Isolation – Virtual training sessions can evoke feelings of isolation or disconnection among participants, especially if there is minimal interaction or engagement. The lack of social cues and non-verbal communication may hinder relationship building and collaboration.  

In-Person Training Pros and Cons:


  • Personal Interaction – In-person training allows for direct interaction between participants and instructors, fostering meaningful engagement, collaboration and relationship building. The immediacy of face-to-face communication enhances the learning experience and promotes active participation.  
  • Immediate Feedback – Instructors can provide real-time feedback, guidance and support to learners during in-person training sessions. This immediate feedback loop accelerates learning and skill development, enabling participants to address questions or challenges promptly. 
  • Hands-On Experience – Many training topics benefit from hands-on activities, demonstrations or practical exercises that are more effectively conducted in an in-person setting. The tactile experience of hands-on learning enhances comprehension and retention of complex concepts. 
  • Networking Opportunities – In-person training sessions offer valuable networking opportunities allowing participants to connect, collaborate and learn from each other’s experiences. These networking interactions can lead to professional connections, mentoring opportunities and knowledge sharing.  
  • Reduced Technology Dependence – Unlike virtual training, in-person sessions do not solely rely on technology for delivery, reducing the risk of technical issues disrupting the learning process. Participants can focus on the content and interaction without the distraction of technology-related challenges. 


  • Travel Costs – In-person training often entails travel expenses for participants including transportation, accommodation and meal costs. These additional expenses may pose financial barriers for individuals or organizations with limited budgets. 
  • Time Constraints – Scheduling in-person training sessions can be challenging due to participants’ availability, logistical considerations and venue availability. Coordinating schedules and ensuring all stakeholders can attend may require extensive planning and coordination.  
  • Limited Accessibility – In-person training may be inaccessible to individuals in remote locations or those with mobility constraints. The need to travel to a physical location may pose barriers for some participants, limiting inclusivity and diversity in training programs.  
  • Venue Costs – Renting a venue for in-person training can be expensive, especially for large groups or specialized facilities. Venue rental costs contribute to the overall expenses of in-person training programs and may impact budget allocation for other training initiatives. 
  • Lower Scalability – In-person training is constrained by venue capacity and logistical limitations, making it more challenging to scale for large audiences or geographically dispersed teams. This scalability limitation may restrict the reach and accessibility of training programs. 

When it comes to choosing between virtual and in-person training, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each option offers distinct advantages and challenges and the best approach will depend on factors such as learning objectives, audience preferences, budget considerations and logistical constraints. By carefully weighing the pros and cons of each training method, organizations and individuals can make informed decisions to optimize their training experiences and achieve desired learning outcomes. 

What Pryor can offer to you…

Pryor Learning has become one of the nation’s leading corporate training providers, offering in-person and online training to millions of individuals and organizations—from small and mid-sized businesses to governments and nonprofits to Fortune 500s. Whether you are looking for virtual or in-person Pryor learning has you covered. 

Live Seminars – Experience interactive learning and live instruction provided by dynamic thought leaders. Our seminars are led by a real person – an experienced trainer who engages with you, facilitates discussion and answers your questions in real time.  

In-Person Events – Experience an in-person seminar from Pryor Learning in a city near you. Sessions are held in an environment with limited distractions and led by an experienced trainer who engages with you, facilitates discussion and answers your questions in real time. 

60-minute Webinars – Pryor Learning offers over 200 webinar topics for you to upskill quickly in a live online environment or at your own pace. Train in just 60 minutes in trending topics such as management, leadership, communication, customer service, Excel and other software and soft skills.  

PryorPlus – Gain unlimited access for individuals or teams to more than 5,000 recorded and on-demand courses for a year. Train in communication, customer service, HR, leadership, Excel, workplace safety and more with regular content updates and new offerings free of charge. 

OnsiteMinimize downtime, disruption and expense by scheduling an onsite training event from Pryor Learning for your group of any size—delivered in-person or online. We offer more than 200 instructor-led training topics to meet your organization’s specific business needs and goals in your own learning environment.