Online Courses, Virtual Training and Classroom Courses: Which ISO Training to Choose?

With so many ISO training course formats available, how do you know which is best for your organization? Whether you opt for an online ISO course, virtual training, or classroom training, the format you choose will impact the quality and consistency of your learning experience — and, therefore, the likelihood of you passing your ISO exams and achieving ISO certification.

While all three types offer effective teaching methods, each is better suited to certain types of students. In this article, we offer a training comparison to help you decide which learning style aligns best with your needs and preferences.

ISO certification is a valuable achievement for individuals to demonstrate their mastery of quality, environmental, information security, or other standards. There are various avenues available to obtain it, including online courses, virtual courses, and traditional classroom courses. Each option comes with its own unique advantages, allowing professionals to choose the one that best fits their schedule, learning style, and specific requirements.
Online Courses, Virtual Training and Classroom Courses: Which ISO Training to Choose? - Advisera

Formats of ISO courses to choose

Before we dive into the details, here’s a high-level view of what the different types of online training, virtual programs, and conventional in-person classes offer:

On-Demand Online Training Virtual Training Classroom Training
Definition Pre-recorded training that can be accessed anytime, anywhere; no teachers present Remote learning with live classes and structured schedules; virtual teachers present In-person classes with structured schedules (no remote training); teachers present
Flexibility Learn at your own pace without time zone constraints Scheduled classes with some aspects of flexible eLearning Fixed training schedule with no flexibility
Geographical constraints None, users can attend anytime, from anywhere Time zone clashes Students must attend in person
Cost Low Affordable Pricey
Feedback and engagement Limited Some High
Content and learning experience Standardized Mainly structured, with some flexibility Loose structure, with an interactive human approach
Access to expertise Limited access to expert tutors Some access to expert tutors Full access to expert guidance
Networking opportunities None Some Plenty

Let’s look into the pros and cons of each option, so you can decide which class format suits your situation the best.

Online ISO training

Online ISO training includes pre-recorded videos from instructors, reading resources, and digital tools you can utilize anytime and anywhere. You can usually access these eLearning materials through digital platforms like apps and websites. Here are the pros and cons of online ISO training:


  • Learn at your own pace: fits into your busy schedule and doesn’t leave you feeling rushed or constrained by rigid timetables.
  • More affordable: course costs are usually lower, and other associated training expenses are eliminated, such as travel, accommodation, and food.
  • Unlimited access: students can revisit challenging topics to reinforce their understanding and prepare for their exams.


  • Potentially slow progress: the freedom to manage your own learning pace requires a high level of personal autonomy and motivation.
  • Limited assistance from instructors: when you’re stuck, you can’t get an immediate response from the instructors.
  • Limited interaction with other students: the absence of peer engagement could reduce opportunities for discussion, feedback, and shared insights.

Although there are no live classes, you can usually get in touch with instructors via direct messages or other communication platforms if you get stuck.

Who benefits the most from online ISO training?

Online training is great for individuals who work remotely, especially in international organizations. You don’t have to worry about finding a dedicated training center that’s accessible from your location.

It’s suitable for:

  • Those with limited training budgets: courses are cheaper, and they don’t require the travel and associated expenses of traditional training methods.
  • Busy professionals: the ability to study at your own pace means you can fit this in around you existing work priorities.
  • Those seeking a standardized format: the structured format minimizes the risk of certain topics being missed or overlooked.
  • Those who want to train with their teams: there are no caps on the number of staff you can enroll in online ISO training.

Online ISO courses are not ideal if you lack access to suitable devices or reliable internet connections, nor are they appropriate for those looking for networking opportunities.

Where to get online ISO training

Among the most reputable online ISO training providers are Advisera and Udemy. Both have plenty of ISO training programs for your self-paced eLearning. The main difference is that Advisera is accredited by ASIC, a world-leading quality standard for online learning providers, whereas Udemy courses are largely unaccredited.

Learn more about what each ISO provider offers here: Comparison of top ISO online training providers.

Virtual ISO training

Although they’re very similar, the key difference between virtual ISO training and online training lies in the inclusion of live classes and structured schedules. Virtual training provides learners with opportunities for real-time interaction with instructors and classmates. Classes are usually recorded for those who miss the live version.


  • No geographical constraints: remote teams can participate in the same ISO training classes, encouraging greater collaboration and engagement across different locations.
  • Immediate feedback: access to instructors ensures that you can address any misunderstandings or questions promptly.
  • Balanced approach to structure: flexibility to learn from recorded classes when you can’t attend live, without compromising the quality of your education, keeping your learning on track.


  • Time zone clashes: live sessions are inconvenient for organizations spanning multiple time zones, leading to decreased participation and engagement.
  • Course costs: virtual training is generally more expensive than online courses because they require more staff and support services to deliver.
  • Difficulty building relationships: getting to know instructors and peers is challenging in a virtual setting, which limits your ability to network and receive mentoring.

Despite being slightly more expensive than online courses, virtual ISO training offers a balanced approach that appeals to learners seeking flexibility and interactivity.

Who benefits the most from virtual ISO training?

Virtual training typically falls somewhere between on-demand online training and classroom training in terms of structure and approach.

It’s suitable for:

  • Those who work with remote teams: team members can participate from anywhere in the world, provided they have an internet connection.
  • Those looking for simultaneous delivery: training content is delivered to everyone simultaneously, so nobody gets left behind.
  • Those needing guidance: a structured course and live expert support encourages students.

However, virtual ISO training may be unsuitable for those who work in organizations spanning multiple time zones. It’s not practical for, e.g., an employee in California to join a call at 2 p.m. with a colleague in Berlin, where the time would be 11 p.m.

Classroom ISO courses

Classroom courses offer a more personalized ISO training format with access to expert instructors, interactive workshops, and one-on-one coaching tailored to each participant’s learning style and organizational context.


  • Personalized learning experience: with face-to-face access to expert instructors, you receive immediate feedback and guidance tailored to your individual learning style.
  • Networking opportunities: you’ll have opportunities to interact with peers, share experiences, and build professional connections within your industry.
  • Interactive workshops and practical exercises: allow you to go beyond theory and apply ISO principles in real-world scenarios.


  • Limited flexibility: not everyone learns at the same pace, and it can be challenging to balance training with other responsibilities or commitments.
  • Geographic constraints: training in a dedicated location can make it more difficult to attend from a remote location.
  • Higher costs: pricey course fees and other additional expenses such as travel, accommodation, and venue rental make this unfeasible for many individuals.

As learners must attend classroom courses, onsite training might leave you with a heavy backlog of tasks. If your entire team is undertaking the same training simultaneously, operations can grind to a halt.

Who benefits the most from classroom ISO training?

The interactive elements of classroom training create a dynamic learning environment that can accommodate various learning styles and preferences.

It’s suitable for:

  • Those who lack IT resources: classroom training eliminates the need for individual technology setups, particularly benefitting those who work in industries like manufacturing, where computers aren’t always available to employees.
  • Those learning complicated standards: classroom training provides an ideal environment for receiving expert guidance and obtaining real-time support.
  • Those seeking fewer distractions: focused time in a controlled learning environment allows you to meet face to face with the instructor for effective learning.

ISO classroom training is also impractical for large groups of students from the same organization, because very few providers can accommodate high numbers of students simultaneously.

A new era of online training

At Advisera, we recognize the limitations of traditional online training methods, such as fewer opportunities for feedback and students’ lack of access to subject matter experts.

To overcome these challenges, we launched an AI-powered knowledge base for all our students, where they can get instant answers to any of their questions. We’re also facilitating one-on-one meetings between paid students and our experts. In those meetings, you can delve deeper into the course material and receive tailored advice.

Choosing the right training format

Most organizations seeking ISO training choose the online, on-demand format. It is generally the most cost-effective and convenient, and it eliminates the variability that occurs due to subjective differences among teachers in traditional and virtual classrooms.

Before committing to a training format, consider your specific requirements. Whether online, virtual, or in-person, the key is to select a course that aligns with your goals and learning preferences, ultimately paving the way for ISO certification.

Find a range of online self-paced ISO courses to gain ISO knowledge and accreditation for your career in implementation or auditing.

Advisera Dejan Kosutic

Dejan Kosutic

Leading expert on cybersecurity & information security and the author of several books, articles, webinars, and courses. As a premier expert, Dejan founded Advisera to help small and medium businesses obtain the resources they need to become compliant with EU regulations and ISO standards. He believes that making complex frameworks easy to understand and simple to use creates a competitive advantage for Advisera's clients, and that AI technology is crucial for achieving this.

As an ISO 27001 and NIS 2 expert, Dejan helps companies find the best path to compliance by eliminating overhead and adapting the implementation to their size and industry specifics.
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