Difference Between Seminar and Workshop

Seminar vs Workshop

Seminars and workshops are both opportunities for anyone to learn, and whatever difference between them does not make one better than the other. Seminars and workshops have become a part of our lives as we see an advertisement of a workshop or a seminar every other day in newspapers and on websites. Most of them are certificate oriented courses that are conducted to impart the latest knowledge to participants in professions that are dependent on practical skills. But many remain confused by the differences between a seminar and workshop as they cannot decide on one or the other. Both seminars and workshops are equally valuable for anyone involved in a skill based professions as they tend to impart the latest knowledge and emerging trends. However, there are basic differences in the style and methodology of these two types of courses and this article intends to differentiate between the two to enable readers to go for one or the other depending upon his requirements.

There are a lot of professions where people feel that they need to upgrade their skills as, with passage of time, newer methods and techniques come into play and people need to learn and master them to attract more clients. Thus, people look to attend short-term training courses such as seminars and workshops to enhance their skills and to learn new techniques rather than attending full-time courses that are costly and also require investment of time, which is not possible for working people.

What is a Seminar?

A seminar is typically lecture oriented, and it delivers the same content to the audience as a workshop does. However, the involvement and interaction with the audience is limited or at least less than a workshop. A seminar is better suited when the number of participants is more than a hundred. This does not mean that one cannot have an engrossing session in a seminar. It all boils down to the skills of a teacher imparting knowledge to the participants to make sessions more interesting and lively. Seminars are mostly held at places where there is a classroom environment, and audio visual aids make up an integral part of the presentation in a seminar.

Difference Between Seminar and Workshop

What is a Workshop?

In a workshop, on the other hand, participants play a more active role, and there are times when personalized help and assistance is forthcoming from the teacher. Individual attention on the participants is possible because typically, in a workshop, the number of participants is kept low purposefully. Lecture play a lesser role in a workshop, and more attention is given to impart the knowledge through practical mode. Workshops are held mostly at places that are open and more spacious than what are required for seminars. This is necessary to let the participants have a clear view of the technique that is being demonstrated by the teacher.

Seminar vs Workshop

What is the difference between Seminar and Workshop?

• Seminars and workshops are short term training courses designed to help working people enhance their skills.

• Seminars are lecture oriented and better suited when the number of participants is large. Personalized attention is not possible in seminars though teachers can make sessions lively with their skills.

• Workshops are more in the manner of demonstration of techniques by the instructor and have lesser number of participants.

• Workshops are more interactive. Personal interaction with the lecturer is possible in a workshop due to the small number of participants. However, this is not possible in a seminar due to the large number of participants.

• From the two, workshops are usually longer. They often last for one or two days, or may be little more depending on the requirement. Seminars are not so long. They normally range from 90 minutes up to three hours. But there are one day seminars too.

• Seminars often have more than hundred participants. Workshops purposefully have fewer participants. That is usually 25 participants or less than that.

• Questions come at the end of presentations in a seminar. In a workshop, questions get attention as they emerge. You do not have to wait till the end to ask questions.


Images Courtesy:

  1. Seminar by Oyvind Solstad (CC BY 2.0)
  2. Workshop by Niccolò Caranti (CC BY-SA 3.0)