When preparing to implement your continuing education software, it is important to choose the right method in which to share it. In-person advantages may be what was the best way to engage your learners in the past. However, the advantages to virtual learner engagement are surpassing expectations. When it comes to learner engagement, is it better to opt for in-person or virtual solutions? Here are some pros and cons to help navigate making that decision.

In-person learning

Not long ago, in-person settings were the only option for learner engagement content. Now that virtual learning is so prevalent, it may be difficult choosing one method over the other. What are the real advantages and disadvantages of in-person learner engagement strategies? 


  • Socialization and engagement with both fellow learners and speakers allows one on one teaching methods that cannot be accomplished virtually.
  • Networking with colleagues in the industry is much easier, and enjoyable when attendees are at one location.
  • In many cases, your members are required to receive hands-on credits for their learning. Practicing techniques virtually can make a big impact for learners who need a more hands-on approach.
  • Additionally, in-person learning provides a less distracting environment which can allow learners to focus on the content at hand.


  • The traditional classroom experience brings limitations of how dynamic or interactive the content can be presented. (i.e. pop up animations, gamification, side chats, and breakouts)
  • Often, learners are less likely to pose a question or raise their hand in a classroom experience. Virtual opportunities allow increased anonymous engagement.
  • There are also physical constraints as to how many guests can attend the event depending on the classroom size.  

Recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed attendees, corporations, and event hosts concerns about in-person events. In many cases, six feet distancing guidelines are not possible to enforce. Furthermore, with new strains of the virus emerging, it can make learners uncomfortable to attend an in-person event. This translates to smaller audiences and missed opportunities for guests who otherwise would have attended. 

Virtual learner engagement

Alternatively, virtual learning offers a much more flexible approach to learner engagement. These pros and cons may help inform your decision on whether virtual learning is the preferred method for your association. 


  • One key advantage to virtual learning is flexibility. The size of the audience, when the content is made available, and the method of delivery are more adaptable than in-person options. Virtual content strategies, like mobile apps and content that can be streamed from any device, can be consumed in whatever way is best suited to the individual learner.  
  • There are many different tools and technology strategies to assist your journey into virtual learner engagement. Here are several virtual content methods to consider.
    • Webinars are entirely virtual that can incorporate slides, speaker audio and video.
    • Due to its versatility, webcasting is another popular choice for many associations. Webcasts are a video stream from a place-based event. Typically, these include a feed of the speaker along with the presentation itself. This makes it an ideal hybrid approach between in-person and virtual learning.
    • Rebroadcasts are a tremendous opportunity to deliver content year-round. Rebroadcasts are a scheduled replay of a previously recorded event that includes the interactivity elements of a live program.
    • On-Demand content are recordings that can be watched anywhere, anytime.  

By turning to virtual or hybrid events, not only do you expand your reach and engage more members, but there is continued use of your original programming that will generate additional non-dues revenue for your association. 


  • Virtual learner engagement strategies can increase in cost. Purchasing technology to accomplish an exceptional virtual experience but might not be in your associations budgeting for the coming year. 
  • Finding staff who are available and knowledgeable on new software management requires, poses a time commitment to be trained, and could also add to your costs. 
  • Due to lack of personal contact you may find yourself needing to upgrade your learning management software. Examples of ways to provide a dynamic one on one connections with your learners is added Q&A’s, gamification, and polls. Potentially increasing your staff workload, support, training, and costs
  • Finally, learner engagement is different for everyone. Some learning techniques require in person experiences so only providing a virtual opportunity means your members are less likely to attend.

These disadvantages can be eliminated through the use of the right learner management system that can offer a tailored experience to only include the tools you need. If you are interested in the advantages of both in-person and virtual learning, then a hybrid approach may be the right method for your association. 


By embracing modern formats and leveraging technology, your association has the opportunity to expand the reach of your educational content. Freestone offers an elegant learner interface, accessible from any device, with sleek tools to form a flexible online learning framework. To learn how to transition your in-person content to virtual learner engagement strategies, click here 

Contact Freestone today to request a free demo.