Learn Microsoft Office Online? Or Offline? The Pros and Cons of Each

Microsoft office is easily one of the world’s most widely used software programs. Most businesses use it, and adoption of the cloud version, Office 365, has been immense. Needless to say, this comes with a need for Microsoft Office courses to keep your staff up to speed. From general Office 365 training to individual program courses, there are plenty of options out there. But how do you know which is best? Learning online, or offline in a traditional classroom environment? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each.

Online Microsoft Office Courses

Online training courses are becoming more and more popular as businesses look for more efficient ways of training staff. Microsoft training classes are no exception, and there are plenty of reasons to consider learning online.

Generally, online Microsoft Office courses offer more flexibility, and more ability to address individual training needs. With a vast catalogue of courses covering Excel, Word, PowerPoint and much more, basically all learning needs are covered by online courses.

From a business point of view, online courses are becoming popular because of the convenience factor. Let’s explore the pros and cons of online Microsoft Office courses.

The Benefits of Learning Microsoft Office Online

Flexibility, variety, and personalisation are just a few of the benefits you’ll get from online Microsoft Office courses. Study where you want, when you want, and learn the skills you really need.


In today’s busy world, flexibility is a key component in all business matters. Staff have heavy workloads, but you still need to balance their learning and development needs. While a full Microsoft Office training program in Australia may take up several days of a staff member’s time, online learning is quick and easy.

Depending on whether you choose self-paced or facilitator-led virtual classrooms, you can give staff the freedom to learn when it’s most convenient. Shorter online courses are much easier to work into a busy schedule than a whole day’s offsite training.

Different Learning Styles are Catered For

When people think about online learning, they often think about traditional self-paced e-learning. In fact, there are other methods available now, which can be even more engaging and beneficial to participants. Virtual classrooms, for example, are facilitator-led, meaning you can ask questions and engage fully in the course.

Some people learn better by studying at their own pace, others need the engagement of a facilitator and class. The good news is, all learning styles are available online.

No Travel Required

Have you ever been in a situation where you need to turn up to work, only to then commute to another venue for training? It’s frustrating for employees, and for businesses it’s just not productive. Online training makes this a thing of the past. Participants can train from the comfort of their desk, or even in a shared office if that social interaction is beneficial.

Studying Microsoft Office online also makes practical sense, because participants can be at their own desk and actually use the programs they’re learning.

Customise to Your Training Needs

With over 1000 different online Microsoft Office courses available, training staff has never been easier. From advanced Microsoft Excel courses, to learning the basics of PowerPoint, you can find a huge range of courses online. If you`re a SharePoint user then you also get training for apps like OneDrive etc. Learn more about SharePoint Migration and Hybrid Migration Office 365 from Office 365 experts.

Businesses can now sign up to training packages that allow staff to choose the specific courses they really need. So, rather than sitting through a generic Microsoft Office overview, you can give staff the skills they really need.

What are the Cons?

Not every aspect of online training will be appealing to everyone, and it’s important to consider a range of different needs. Everyone has their preferred way of learning, so virtual training simply may not be best for all staff.

Less Peer Interaction

While virtual online classes do provide the opportunity for engagement, some people may not find it the same as a classroom. For people who enjoy the environment of sitting in a room with others, online training may not provide the same level of interaction.

For some, classroom training can be a bit of fun, too. There is often a bit more space for chatting and sharing stories. Rather, online courses are generally quite structured and aim to make the best possible use of time. That’s not to say there’s no interaction between participants and facilitators, but it’s a little different than a classroom.

More Discipline is Required

It’s true that online training requires a little more self-motivation than other learning methods. Once you’re stuck in a physical classroom environment, you don’t really have any distractions. However, if you’re doing Microsoft Office courses online, there can be distractions.

At your desk there is a temptation to browse emails or get distracted from the course content. Likewise, if you’re working from home and studying, household distractions are always there. So, when training online, you’ll need some discipline to make sure you’re maximising the benefits.

Offline Microsoft Office Courses

When we talk about offline Microsoft Office courses, we refer to classroom-based training. Led by a facilitator, some people enjoy the social aspect of this training. Others, however, find the environment challenging and would prefer a different style of learning.

As the world turns towards more digital solutions, is there still a place for classroom learning? We believe there is, because just like online courses, there are pros and cons.

The Benefits of Traditional Classroom Learning

People still enjoy getting out of the office occasionally for facilitator-led classroom training. While online courses are super-convenient, some people do still enjoy the social nature of offline training.

Face to Face with Facilitator

Some people need to read visual cues during training. The face-to-face nature of offline training provides that, because you’re right there with the facilitator. You’re able to fully immerse yourself in the course content, and you can also get immediate answers to questions.

Of course, you can still have interaction with facilitators in virtual classrooms, but it takes some getting used to.

Opportunity to Network

This may not apply if you’re holding internal training courses, because it’s likely everybody knows everyone already. However, if you’re looking to send your staff to external Microsoft Office training courses, many appreciate the chance to network.

Participants can share experiences and learn from those inside and outside of their industry. Networking has a lot of benefits, and offline external training courses give people this opportunity.

What are the Cons?

Just like everything, classroom-based training has its negatives. With better technology comes more efficiency, and we often start to see older ways of doing things as redundant. While that’s not necessarily the case with offline training, there are some things to be aware of.

Time Consuming

Classroom-based training tends to be more time consuming than its online counterpart. Firstly, you may need to travel to an alternative venue which takes time. Also, courses are often longer, without necessarily having more information packed into them.

Online courses move through the content a little more quickly, and you can also get straight back to work when you’re done. This is a luxury you don’t always have with offline courses.

Less Variety of Microsoft Training Courses

Training providers may not be able to justify running physical training courses for very targeted Microsoft Office skills. This is why there’s limitations on the variety of offline courses being offered, when compared to the abundance of online courses.

For example, you may find generalised Office 365 training in a classroom environment, but you might not be able to access a short course in using financial formulas on Microsoft Excel.

Not as Cost Effective as Online Courses

Perhaps for the same reason as above, classroom-based courses aren’t always as cost effective. This is because they generally cover a broader topic, and some of your staff may be learning things they already know.

This is why online courses are popular, because you can send staff to more targeted training that really suits their needs.

So, as you can see, there’s definitely a case for both styles of training. It’s important to remember that not everybody learns the same way, so what’s beneficial for some may not be for others. When it comes to Microsoft Office courses though, the variety and flexibility of studying online should certainly be appealing to all businesses looking to maximise their learning and development time.