June 7, 2018

Internal Training vs External Training: Which is More Effective and Why?

I’m probably in the minority when I say that I love a good training session. Not the boring kind where the person sat next to you is falling asleep because they missed out on their morning coffee, but the interesting, engaging kind where you learn something new and leave feeling empowered.
5 min min read
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Jeremy Bourhis
Demand Generation Manager
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I’ve experienced both these kinds of training sessions in the last few years. Some have been truly painful, regurgitating information that I already knew and full of groupthink. Others have been inspiring and thought-provoking, filling me with new ideas I couldn’t wait to execute.

Whether the course is interesting and engaging or making you reach for the free coffee, there are two ways these courses can be conducted: internally and externally. Internal training is taught by someone who works for your company, while external training is taught by someone outside of it.

When it comes to deciding on the best form of training for your team, it can be difficult to determine who is the best person to hold the session and why. What are the benefits to internal training sessions? Are external training sessions worth the cost?

Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of each.

Internal training

Internal training sessions are conducted by someone that already works for your company. This is often someone from HR, but not always – it depends on the purpose of the session and who the best person for the job is. For a product demonstration, for example, a sales person may be better suited to the role, or for a more technical demonstration a developer may be a good fit.


Internal training sessions are easy to set up as you already have everyone and everything that you need. Because of this, it’s also quicker and cheaper to organize.

A senior team member training junior team members can help to build relationships and a team dynamic. The person conducting the training session may even learn something new from their junior team members.

Internal training sessions don’t just inform new hires or offer refreshers to older team members, though. They can also reinforce the tutor’s knowledge and help them to find any gaps in it. Discovering these gaps in their knowledge means that they won’t get caught out in the future and can improve their sales pitch.


Internal knowledge has its limits. The longer we work for a company or with a particular person/team, the easier it is to fall into the trap of groupthink.

We’re also more likely to become isolated and stuck in our ways of doing things, which, long-term, can be detrimental.

In the age of technology, every industry is changing rapidly. Teams or companies that live in a silo risk falling behind their competitors, potentially damaging the brand and business by the use of old-fashioned techniques.


External training is conducted by experts or influencers from outside of your company. They may be someone your company already has a relationship with – such as a supplier – who has been brought in to give more information on a product or feature, or an industry expert who can share the latest trends to help teams stay ahead of competitors.

This type of training can also be done at external events (such as Unleash or the Festival of Marketing) or online (such as Copy School, Forget the Funnel, and Codecademy).


External training sessions break up groupthink and offer a fresh perspective on how things are done. This can have a dramatic effect on company culture and the way things are done moving forward (either in a positive or a negative way).

External training sessions also give teams the chance to learn from industry experts. The knowledge shared by people like Andrew & Pete or Janet Murray in their corporate training sessions can be invaluable. They help companies to snap out of their ‘tradition is the only way’ mentality and view things from a new angle. In ever-changing industries such as HR or marketing, this is vital for teams who want to stand out. It also future-proofs team’s and company’s knowledge because they’re learning from someone whose job it is to pay attention to industry trends. These tutors also have experience working with dozens – if not hundreds – of businesses, giving them more experience and helping them to pick up on patterns that they can share with training sessions.


External training is more expensive than in-house training.

It can also take longer to organize. After all, the best people are busy.

Should you go for the online training option, sessions or courses are often limited to a certain number of slots, or only open for sign-ups a few weeks a year. This can be difficult if you’re looking for courses for employees to take part in and they’re not open when you need them.


Neither type of training is better than the other. What matters is what’s best for you and your team.

Before you start to organize your training session, it’s important to know what you – and they – want to get out of it. This will help you to research the best people for the job, whether that’s in-house or someone from outside of the company.

Consider your options before deciding, as there may be someone you didn’t think of initially who’s the perfect person to conduct the training session. Don’t let your personal biases affect your decision – just because you enjoyed someone’s training session five years ago, that doesn’t mean that their training session is as relevant now as it once was. Influencers get left behind all the time, so be sure that the one whose session you enjoyed previously is still on top of industry trends and can therefore get you and your team ahead, too.