How Workshops, Seminars, Conferences, and Symposiums Differ?

Workshops, seminars, conferences, and symposiums are words that are often used interchangeably not only here in Singapore. Are they all similar? If not, when exactly do we use each one of them? Let’s find out.

In workshops, participants are encouraged to fully involve themselves in the learning process. Therefore, they have to work or create something or a couple of things. This is usually done in one day but in some cases, when the workshop is divided into different courses, it will keep going for maybe a couple of days.

For sessions that require a series of exercises or activities, you have to rent training room that has a wide space for the participants to easily navigate.

A seminar is a form of academic instruction wherein the information is lectured or discussed by one or more experts in an hour or half a day. This is a perfect venue if you’re doing an experiment and would like to get some honest feedback. However, questions about the topic/s are usually entertained at the end of the discussion.

Seminars can be categorized as educational, business, etc. It is generally attended by small groups of 10-30 people. But if you’re expecting a little more than that, rent seminar room that can be easily scaled up.

A symposium is an assembly at which a number of experts in a specific field present their work and discuss a particular idea or subject later on rather than a general discussion. But unlike a workshop, it is less hands-on. It is also smaller than conferences and typically completed within a day.

A conference is a large formal meeting of people or members with shared interests that require problem-solving, discussion, and consultation. It tends to be the largest event attended by fifty to thousands of people but their participation is limited.

Conferences are consultative in nature and are organized at the conference room of the organization, convention center, or any other place such as hotel meeting space.

The nature of each varies in the discipline. Workshops are more practical, seminars are more academic, while symposiums and conferences are formal..


If you like this article, you might want to read this article about Best Modes of Training.