Is Online Asbestos Training as Good as Face-to-Face Training?

The last couple of years has seen big changes when it comes to meeting people and day to day communication. With the pandemic in full swing all businesses in the UK have had to change the way they communicate. Some say for the better, others are not so sure. When it comes to asbestos training there are other considerations which need to be taken into account.

Asbestos training by its very nature is designed and given with safety at the forefront of every asbestos training course. With Covid a new safety element was presented to asbestos training providers and those having the training. This has seen a huge shift from face-to-face training across to virtual online training.

From a Covid perspective virtual online training is far safer. However, is virtual online asbestos training as effective as face-to-face training? Is asbestos training delivered virtually still providing what it needs to when it comes to asbestos safety?

is online asbestos training as good as face to face training

Does online technology increase the numbers of those having asbestos training?

This is an interesting question. It is my opinion that the technology which is now standard in nearly every business is having a positive effect when it comes to numbers who undertake legally required asbestos training. As virtual online asbestos training has had to become accepted it has made it very easy to access from anywhere in the UK.

The need for a venue or to travel to a venue has been removed or reduced. This makes asbestos training now more palatable to businesses from a time and commercial perspective. Asbestos training courses are much easier to attend and less costly. Virtual online training has made having asbestos training far easier and has removed any excuses of logistics and practicality. This in turn will have increased numbers of those undertaking asbestos training. This is a good thing.

Does online technology decrease the candidate’s ability to concentrate on content?

For anybody that is now using platforms such as “Zoom” of “TEAMS” for their everyday meetings and communication they will know how easy it is to get sidetracked during a meeting. There is something different when you are sitting in the same room. There is nowhere to hide and it’s not so easy to switch off when someone is talking to you.

When you are on the other end of a camera getting sidetracked and losing concentration is very easy. Muting the microphone and looking at other things on the computer screen in just too easy. When it comes to asbestos training though there is one thing that works in its favour. The knowledge tests. Although passing a test does not guarantee that everyone has listened and concentrated during the course. It does however make people understand that if they pay no attention, it will become clear when they come to take a test at the end.

On one hand, yes, virtual online asbestos training can decrease the candidates ability to concentrate on the course content. However, with post training tests they will be far more likely to sit up and engage with the training being given.

If we look at the three main asbestos courses:

Are they all equal when it comes to virtual online training? Do they have more benefits being carried out face to face? Let’s look at each one individually.

Online Asbestos Awareness Training vs Face to Face

Asbestos awareness training is in the main a fact-based course giving candidates that all to important introduction to asbestos. When undertaken face to face the course generally provides a lot of screen commentary through power point or similar with a wide variety of pictures and photographs.

When delivering the course it is usual for questions to be asked and the tutor is then free to give more detail where relevant. In past times it was always good practice to give candidates sealed samples to handle and look at. Although in my opinion this added a much-needed learning tool to these courses it has recently been frowned upon due to safety.

With the introduction of non-trainer straight up electronic asbestos awareness courses some of the asbestos awareness training content has been lost to electronic versions. The reason for doing this is to make asbestos awareness easy and accessible for as many people as possible. It really is the first and most important asbestos training for most individuals.

Given where we are with asbestos awareness training currently the virtual tutor led online course really does give the best of both worlds. Easily accessible, commercially viable, tutor led for those little extras and questions. All in, it’s my opinion, that virtual online tutor led asbestos awareness training is the better option for this course.

Online Asbestos Non-Licensed Training vs Face to Face

Part of the non-licensed asbestos operative / removal or work on non-licensed asbestos training is the asbestos awareness element. This asbestos awareness element as above is a good option being tutor led virtually online. The real differences with the asbestos non licensed training are when it comes to the hands-on element.

Unlike the asbestos awareness training there is no accepted electronic only version as this would not be possible due to the hand on elements. With Covid restrictions UKATA took the stance that tutor led virtual online training was a better alternative to no training. A decision I agree with. With the hands-on element such as how to wear RPE, PPE and how to actually safely work on asbestos materials this was a challenge. A challenge that was overcome by most course providers by giving live demonstrations and or video presentations.

The difference being that face-to-face training saw candidates actually having a chance to physically do what they were being taught. There really is no substitute for physical hands-on experience. Needless to say that for non-licensed asbestos training face to face courses win out over virtual online training for their effectiveness.

Online Duty to Manage Asbestos Training vs Face to Face

This type of training is very similar to the way that asbestos awareness training is given. The difference tends to be the number of questions and discussions which happen during The Duty to Manage Asbestos Training. In addition, there is the required asbestos awareness section of this course. In the duty to manage asbestos training there is the need to view and look at several types of documentation. With tutor led virtual online training this course can be given to a high standard. However due to the ability in face to face to consistently ask questions and interact, face to face training is, in my opinion, the superior option.


My opinion on this is that where possible there really is no substitute for face-to-face asbestos training. The courses are more interactive, candidates are more present (literally) and the outcome in training is far superior.

Having said that some training is better than no training. If a virtual online course is the only option, then this is a better option than not having asbestos training at all.

As a UKATA member we offer face to face and where appropriate virtual online tutor led asbestos training. Training reduces risk and that’s what’s important.

If you are looking to book a course or just need more information on a particular course, then contact a member of the team now or complete one of our online booking forms.

Is Online Asbestos Training as Good as Face-to-Face Training? 1

Written by Jess Scott

Jess Scott has been an all-round asbestos consultant since 1996. That’s nearly 3 decades of asbestos knowledge. He spends his time sharing that knowledge with the team at Oracle and with their clients. Jess's goal is, and always has been, to use my expertise in helping people to comply with the law. This legal compliance ultimately helps to protect everyone from the harmful effects of asbestos. Jess has acted as an asbestos expert witness in legal cases and is involved in many asbestos educational activities throughout the UK.