Difference Between Workshop Seminar Symposium and Conference

The best way to get to a conclusion in a matter, solve a problem, or learn something, is to do it with a group of people. This way, we can find a number of opinions, ideas and perspectives to go around to find the best possible way to tackle an issue or learn something.

Workshop vs Seminar vs Symposium vs Conference

The main difference between Workshop, Seminar, Symposium, and Conference is that Workshops are where people learn something practically and Seminar and Symposium have an expert speaking/discussing on a subject. On the other hand, Conference is where a group of people discuss a matter that may or may not need problem solving. 

Workshop vs Seminar vs Symposium vs Conference

A Workshop is where a certain skill is taught to the attendees in a practical step-by-step manner.

A Seminar is where a group of experts teach or spread awareness on a given topic.

A Symposium is where an expert of a certain field discusses the details of a topic in that field.

A conference is a formal discussion where a small group of people discuss a matter and brainstorm ideas on it. It may be to solve a problem or share their ideas on a topic to get to a conclusion. A conference commonly takes place in offices and between business officials.

Comparison Table Between Workshop Seminar Symposium and Conference

Parameters of ComparisonWorkshopSeminarSymposiumConference
DefinitionPractical lessons taught to the attendeesAcademic instructions conducted by an organizationGroup of people of a particular field discuss a topicGroup of people with shared interests discuss how to solve a problem.
BenefitsLearn a new skillGain awarenessGain knowledgeBe able to solve an issue, find new ideas
TypeInformalInformalFormal or informalFormal
Mode of conductionOnline or offlineOnline or offlineOnline or offlineTends to be offline more than online
Area of conductionSchools, etcCollege/Universities, etcIntellectual events, etcOffices, businesses. etc

What is a Workshop?

I workshop is where a person or a group of people share and teach a new skill those attending and looking forward to learning it. Workshops are a great way to learn various things such as learn how to make websites, apps, software or even how to use certain software to gain the required results.

Workshops are most useful in schools, colleges, etc where students can learn various new things to increase the scope of their career paths. It is easy to find workshops on any sort of work nowadays like carpentry, fashion design, web design, photoshop, exercises and workouts, etc.

What is a Seminar?

Seminars are conducted to share knowledge or spread awareness on a subject. Seminars are commonly held in colleges, universities, etc and are conducted by well-known professional organizations. Some of the most common and seminars subjects include investing, personal finance, real estate and web marketing.

These seminars usually contain experts who share their opinions and ideas on a subject and share them with the people. This way they are able to spread awareness of that subject as well share their knowledge with the community.

What is a Symposium?

A symposium is usually where a group of experts together discuss a subject and share their different opinions, ideas, ideology and perspective with each other and it takes place in front of an audience who are able to learn all about said subject by default by listening to the experts conversation.

Symposiums are a great way to learn about things together with learning about the distinguished opinions and ideal of the experts. Symposiums are usually informal however it is an extremely beneficial thing to be a part of.

A symposium doesn’t necessarily have to be educational. It can even be something like a discussion on movies. In a symposium like this, instead of experts, it panel might have actors, directors, or maybe even just well-known fanatics of different genres of movies.

What is a Conference?

A conference is formal discussion that is conducted amongst people that share similar interests and are usually working together towards a goal. This discussion may include conversations about the different paths that can be taken to reach their goal and share their different perspectives, or the various obstacles that may appear on the path to the goal and how to solve them.

These are usually held in offices, businesses or companies with various executives sitting in a room together looking to grow their brand or solve an issue that the face along the way.

Main Differences Between Workshop, Seminar, Symposium and Conference

  1. Workshops are a practical learning process whereas conference is discussion of a matter of concern
  2. Seminars are conducted to spread awareness and a way to share information unlike conferences which are often used to solve an important problem.
  3. Symposiums have an expert that shares their wisdom and knowledge on a topic to others attending it whereas a conference doesn’t necessarily have an expert but instead a group of people tackling the same issue from different standpoints.
  4. Workshops, seminars and symposiums all are conducted for an audience unlike a conference which is between a select few individuals that are crucial to the matter at hand.
  5. Workshops, seminars, symposiums and conferences can all be conducted online, however, conferences are often conducted for dire matters of utmost importance where it being offline might be better for the productivity of it.


So depending upon your position and your objective, you can differentiate between Workshop Seminar Symposium and Conference. If you work for a business or are leading a business that requires a discussion to solve an issue or find a way to grow your business by looking into new ideas, then you need to conduct a conference or be a part of it. 

On the other hand, if you want to know something or learn something new that you are interested in, then you can attend workshops, Seminars and Symposiums. Also if you are an expert in a field and want to share your knowledge, you can conduct the same for others as well.


  1. https://journals.co.za/doi/abs/10.10520/ejc-saradio-v57-n1-a5
  2. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/mono/10.4324/9781315760322/conference-interpreting-explained-roderick-jones
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