practice environment recommendations

Hello Drupal Community,
My employer will be migrating our company website from Dreamweaver to Drupal 7 in the next few months. At one point the web team set up a “practice” environment for employees who wanted to use tutorials and get a feel for Drupal. Recently they removed this feature, and now I’m not sure what to do. They recommended trying Acquia or Pantheon, but as a total Drupal newbie, I am a little intimidated by all their options and trial offers. Any recommendations from the Community would be most appreciated…
Thank You!

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