Differences between Virtual, Online and Live In-person Training

Class type



We use the term “online” to refer to courses that are 100% self-contained, self-paced, web-based courses in which a student can self-enroll or be enrolled in by a manager. They are taken and administered through our Learning Management System (LMS), which tracks lesson completion, handles lesson and quiz/test scoring, and keeps a history of courses taken. The LMS also has some automatic email notification capabilities, such as sending out notification emails for new student registration, course enrollments, and completions. Online course enrollments generally do not contain a specific date for enrollment (although clients can request a specific enrollment date) – when we enroll a student in an online course, the enrollment begins immediately and the student can start any time after enrollment. Due dates for our online courses are automatically calculated by the LMS from the enrollment date and are, for EPA/Cal OSHA accredited courses, 14 days and 60 days for non-accredited courses. The Online Training Team monitors and manages the LMS and student enrollments. The Online Documentation Team handles the official certifications for all online courses that are EPA/Cal OSHA accredited and sends those out to the students (students only receive unofficial course completion certificates directly from the system, but these are NOT the ones required by EPA/CAL OSHA as proof of certification).


We use the term “virtual” to refer to courses that are instructor-led but in a virtual classroom environment over the web. It is, in essence, a classroom course held over the web where students and instructors are not co-located. This is similar to online virtual meetings environments. These courses are taught on specific dates and times, and students are sent enrollment emails that specify the date, time, and the links to join the virtual classroom from the NATEC Training Team or our registrars. Students interact with the instructor and each other, demonstrations can be presented to the students, they can ask and answer questions, the virtual classroom has the capability for webcams and voice conversations by phone or through the computer, and the instructor grades any assignments (or facilitates group self-grading, if needed), and handles reporting completions, attendance, and other administrative duties associated with the class. Virtual classes are administered by the NATEC Training Team, and not by the Online Training Team.


And of course, we also have in-person classes with an instructor, either at one of our facilities or a client’s, on specific dates & locations. Classroom courses are also managed by the NATEC Training Team.


Finally, some of our courses are blended courses, in which a portion of the training is taken online or virtually and a portion of the course that must be taken in-person. For courses with an online portion, the Online Training Team handles enrollment and the Training Team handles the in-person portion of the enrollment, either coincident to enrollment with the online portion, or after they receive proof of online course completion. The date(s) for the in-person portion of the course is/are usually arranged directly between the Training Team registrars and the student or client.