Difference Between Seminar and Lecture

Seminar vs Lecture

We hear the words seminar and lecture so many times, especially during student life, that we hardly pay attention to difference between them. We are all aware of instructional classes taken by lecturers, don’t we? A lecture is therefore a formal presentation by a teacher in a college or a university to explain the concepts of a subject. A seminar is a similar concept which is used to impart education to people but here the teacher or the person entrusted to carry on the proceedings plays a rather limited role and most of the discussion goes on between the students. But seminars are not limited to educational settings and one sees seminars being organized in business environments also. Though both seminars and lectures are used to impart education, there are many differences that will be highlighted in this article.


In a lecture, the teacher (usually a lecturer or a professor) stands some distance apart from the students who are seated across a large room. The teacher stands in front of a black board and writes on it with a chalk to explain the concepts to the students. In modern times, the use of blackboard has been reduced and its place has been taken by projector and slide. This allows the teacher to arrange slides in an order and explain the subject with the help of these slides that are projected on to a screen. If you have attended a lecture, you know how it goes on. The students are silent most of the time, busy jotting down whatever the teacher speaks about the subject. Some lectures can be interactive though, as when a teacher makes groups and assigns tasks to these groups. Learning is mostly passive as the teacher explains and the students receive. However, lectures are regarded as an inexpensive method to make a large number of students grasp the principles of a subject quickly.


Though seminar is mostly utilized in educational settings, it is common to see seminars being organized by commercial organizations. This is a method of imparting instructions in which there is active participation and sharing of views, opinions and knowledge. Though there is a person who is supposed to conduct a seminar, he performs the role of a facilitator rather than a lecturer and requests everyone present to actively participate, focusing on the subject chosen for the seminar.

As opposed to a lecture where the participants are silent and are not expected to have knowledge, participants in a seminar are not expected to be beginners. They are encouraged to pose queries and also come up with solutions to queries of other participants. In this way, a student is exposed to a methodology which is similar to research.

Seminar vs Lecture

• Lecture and seminar are two contrasting styles of imparting education to students

• While lecture is more formal and students remain silent with teacher speaking all the time, seminar takes place in a relaxed manner with active participation of the students and the teacher performing more of a role of a facilitator

• Lecture is considered a cheap method of imparting instructions to a large number of students

• Seminar is a methodology that resembles research work that students take up later.

• The use of seminars is not restricted to educational settings and they are held by professional organizations also.