Pros and Cons of In Person vs. Online Safety Training

Online Safety Training in Ontario

Over the past decade or so, there has been a steady increase in demand for online safety training. The presence and shift towards online safety training comes with many new pros, but also has some drawbacks to be aware of. Read further to discover some of the advantages and disadvantages of In Person vs Online Safety Training.

The advantages of online safety training


Classes can usually be taken at any time if they are pre recorded and they allow a lot of flexibility to the learner.


Training content remains standard and does not deviate from one class to another, meaning the learner gets the same information regardless of what session they take.


Initial cost of online training to develop is usually higher than in-person training, but the long term maintenance of an online course is minimal and is cost efficient.

Repetition and refresher training

Online training makes it easy to batch assign refresher training like annual required topics and allows for the same class and content to be issued to learners as an assignment.

Speciality topics

Paying for an in-person specialist in a very niche skill or topic can be extremely expensive, so having that speciality training in an online format, allows for large cost savings.


Many online safety software platforms and online training companies offer easy tracking methods to issue training and track attendance, as well as who missed a deadline or needs new training assigned to them.

The drawbacks of online safety training


Online training has the potential for unforeseen and unmonitored distractions that a facilitator won’t be able to address, and may make the learner not have as positive of an experience.

Limited participation

Depending upon the format of the online training class, there will most likely not be an opportunity for learners to interrupt and ask questions or have a facilitated class discussion.

Limited customization

Due to the complexity of designing online learning, there won’t be much ability to customize the training to every learner’s individual learning strengths.

Instructor access

With pre-recorded online training, it will most likely take some time to reach out to the instructor about questions that a learner may have and may take long periods of time to receive an answer back to their question.


Making certain that your training provider is a valid and reputable provider can sometimes be difficult to distinguish. You want to make sure you use a reputable training provider and that they have subject matter experts developing the content to ensure that the material is compliant and delivers upon its expected outcomes from the classes.

The advantages of in person safety training


In person training classes can be personalized and the trainer can adapt in the moment based on the learner strengths of how they best learn and retain information.

Instructor access

Instructors are standing right in front of you and a learner can easily talk to them either during the course or at the conclusion if they have discussion points or questions to ask.

More interactive

An in person training class usually offers the ability to have back and forth dialogue with learners so they may retain information better and on a more personal level.

Ability to add hands on learning

An in person training can incorporate hands-on training such as using a tool, or piece of equipment and it adds a dimension of learning that is unable to be added to online learning.

The drawbacks of in person safety training 


In person training can only accommodate a limited number of learners per instructor, meaning sessions can be closed to learners who want to sign up.


An instructor can only be in one place at a time and have limited availability, meaning if someone misses a scheduled class, they may never be able to make up the class to learn the content.


In person training sessions can be very expensive depending upon the topic, class size and credentials of the instructor.

Physical space

In person training involves the need to reserve rooms strictly for training and require resources to be devoted to setting up the room to accommodate many people potentially. This can sometimes incur cost if renting space to hold the class.

Initial investment of online training can appear costly, but the long term return on investment almost always outweighs the high ongoing costs of holding in person safety training. Sometimes in person safety training topics must occur and you cannot do an online format, so that aspect must always be considered as well. Whether its In Person vs Online Safety Training, each organization must make the determination of what learning format works best for their intended audiences based upon the desired topic that is being taught. Some companies utilize a hybrid of in person and online safety training to get the desired outcome they are looking for.