What Works in Professional Development: Virtual, Online, and Instructor Led, Oh My!


by Kate Bloom
September 7, 2017

With all the training options available today, it can be overwhelming to decide which is right for you or your team. Which route should you take: virtual, online, or instructor led? Virtual and online, those are two different things? What if you have a tight budget? What if you can’t take dedicated time away from your daily responsibilities to attend training? What if you already have an internal training program? Don’t worry! By the time you finish reading this, you will be well on your way to following the training path that is the right fit for you.   

Virtual Training

Virtual training is where the student attends a live course with other students online. The class is hosted through a virtual classroom. Typically, students are provided a link prior to the training, and no additional software is needed. The course is hosted by a live instructor and occurs at a scheduled time. Virtual allows students the flexibility to complete their training from any location that meets the needs of the virtual classroom (i.e., desktop/laptop, high speed internet connection, headset or phone, etc.). This option eliminates the need for travel. For companies trying to stretch the budget and still foster active group participation, virtual training can be a great option.

Online Training

This style of training is completed online at the student’s own pace. Students are given access to the training material online, and they complete the training at times that are convenient for them. There is no live instructor or collaboration with other students. Online training widely consists of watching videos, active participation by clicking on the screen to navigate through the training, games, and short quizzes to test your knowledge. Online training can often be accessed through a variety of devices such as desktop, laptop, tablet, or cell phones. This training option allows the greatest amount of time and accessibility flexibility. Students can access the training any time and on any device. “Being self-paced and having the ability to start and stop a course as needed has made online training very popular in the fast-paced world of technical support,” notes Chris Farver, Group Certification, Training & Consulting Director for HDI and ICMI.

Online is a great option for students whose schedules do not allow them to be away from their daily activities to complete a scheduled training. Online courses are a money-saving choice for companies or individuals with a tighter budget. These courses tend to be the most economical choice since there is no live trainer and no travel is required

Instructor-Led Training

Instructor-led training offers a traditional in-classroom setting. If networking and collaborating with peers is of high value to you, instructor led is hands down the path to choose. It is the only training option that provides face-to-face in-person training by a certified instructor with a group of peers. Networking possibilities are abundant in this type of training. 

Something for Everyone

HDI offers all three platforms on many of our courses to ensure we meet the needs of every customer. In addition, if your company already has an internal training program, fantastic! HDI offers a Certified Instructor program where we can certify a trainer from your company to train our material internally.

Training is critical to your success and the success of your team. Go ahead…be brave! Take the next step along your training path and choose the training option that best suits your needs.

Training is critical to your success and the success of your team.
Tweet: #Training is critical to your success and the success of your team. @ThinkHDI


Kate Bloom in an instructional designer for HDI where she specializes in curriculum design and development for instructor led and virtual classrooms and works closely with subject matter experts and thought leaders in the IT industry. She also has a passion for developing e-learning courses and staying current with emerging technology and trends. Kate excels in taking complex topics and taming them into creative, interactive courses suited to fit the target audience. She also holds HDI Customer Service Representative and Support Center Analyst Certifications. Connect with Kate on LinkedIn.


Tag(s): supportworld, training, workforce enablement, certification

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