Choosing Face-To-Face Or Virtual

Face-to-Face, Virtual, Online and Hybrid Advantages/ Disadvantages

First let’s clarify the mean of the following:

Face-to-Face is in person with your students.

Virtual is using the internet where the student and the instructor are in different locations. Training room environment is simulated. Web-based Training.

Online is a course conducted over the internet usually self-paced.

Open Online Courses is an e-Learning system open to large number of students where you share, interact, and collaborate with your peers.

Hybrid offers both online and in person training.


Facilitators are able to gauge student understanding by reading body language as subtle as the delay in response, eye contact the sound of mouse clicking.

Eye contact is so powerful in a face-to-face learning environment or lack thereof. Reading those micro body cues that are totally missed in a virtual or Online learning scenario.

You could argue both ways that by being in a classroom Face-to-Face with your instructor you are less distracted than if you were at your computer either at home or work where you might be impacted by more noise and disruptions.

By being in the same room as your instructor makes for ease of sharing documentation looking at multiple student computer screens. Being able to scan the room for who is keeping up and who is being left behind. Quick visual cues are given with a raised hand or glance at the instructor.

Amazingly 93% of communication is nonverbal. Vocal tone, Fidgeting, Facial expressions, Head movements, Hand gestures, Body posture, and Physical distance.

Who is Face-to-Face best suited to?

In the context of Microsoft Office training courses. Face-to-Face training is going to be ideal for those who are less confident around computers.

In a virtual session these students often get lost at the beginning just getting the exercise and the PDF version of the manual opened up. Having to perform using one screen or even coping with multiple screens is going to be overwhelming for this type of student.

There are many different learning styles and for some having the comfort and security of an instructor in the room is most appealing.

The class size also has an impact. The smaller the class the more at ease students become they are more engaging and relaxed which promotes better learning.


Technology is going to be your first barrier when needing to complete a course online. To ensure a smooth connection check the following.

  • If possible, plug directly to your modem. Yes, the old fashion way plug in that blue ethernet cable.
  • If at home going wireless, best most convenient choice. However, you want to be as close as you can to the modem.
  • Look into Wi-Fi Extenders that plug into the power point.
  • Keep your Router updated at least every 3 years, use the latest technologies
  • Switch to 5 GHZ where possible, it’s a less crowded band
  • Position your Router high up on a Shelf and away from glass and mirrors
  • Move the router away from air conditioners, microwaves, refrigerators and washing machines
  • Restart your router at least once a month
  • Turn off and disconnect electrical devices not in use – computers, phones, tablets, Smart TV

Using your camera during a Virtual session may cause dropouts. If this happens, try turning off the camera.

You may lose audio. Try the good old log out log back in. Ensure you are logged into the session once or that no one else is using your log in.

An instructor led course in for Example Excel is great as virtual students can follow just as if they were in a face-to-face classroom. In my virtual sessions I ensure everyone is keeping up by keeping everyone engaged and participating in questions. At times students may share their screen with me so I can see the formula for myself and pick up where they have gone wrong.

Students are using their own equipment and many different versions from 2010 to Office 365 which have slightly different features. There fore being able to share screens with students is important.

Who is Virtual Best Suited to?

A Virtual training session in Microsoft Office is going to be handy with an organization that has employees in different states or even in different countries.

Self-Paced Learning Online

Some students because of their prior learning experiences can move through necessary learning material at a different pace than others in a classroom’s scenario. For this reason, Self-Paced learning is ideal.

Open Online Courses

You decided what you want to learn, when and how. It’s a combination of live sessions, background materials, videos, and discussions. Try Open Universities Australia.


A Hybrid session could mean different things depending on the type of course. In the case of delivering Microsoft Office courses conducted over 1 day. This is where there could be a mix of Face-to-Face students at the same time as Virtual students connecting via Zoom or Teams for example.

An organization who has students in Sydney and Melbourne could get trained at the same time rather than holding separate classes. Flying an instructor out to Melbourne. Where the number of students is minimal in either Sydney or Melbourne holding a Hybrid session is cost effective and time saving.

Disadvantages to Hybrid

For the instructor to keep both Face-to-Face and Virtual students engaged 80% of the time is challenging, Doable but challenging. The technology can cause disruption with connection and audio issues.


In the end it is a personal preference that you need to consider what’s your best method of learning. What situation do you feel most comfortable, clear headed and open to learning?

Other factors are cost efficiency for the organization and reduce travel time for Virtual training sessions.

Microsoft Office Small Group Training Sessions

AZ Solutions delivers customized training courses in Sydney – Australia. We come to you. All you need is a board room, PC’s for each student and a TV/ Projector with a HDMI connection cable. Virtual Training sessional also available.

In our training sessions you are welcomed to bring examples of your work to class. We prefer it.

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