Difference Between a Workshop, Conference, Seminar, Symposium and Colloquium


A Workshop includes all the elements of the Seminar, but with the largest portion being emphasized on “hand-on-practice” or laboratory work. The Lab work is designed to reinforce, imprint and bring forward an immediate functioning dimension to the participant’s eye and hands by implementing and practicing the actual concept or technique that was taught through the lecture and demonstration process.

A workshop paper isn’t technically a publication and is typically meant to represent work-in-progress


Conferences are occasional or annual meetings organized by a committee, with a group of appointed paper reviewers who review submissions and select the most suitable, original, best etc. papers for publication in a book: ‘conference proceedings’. A Conference refers to a formal meeting where participants exchange their views on various topics. Conference can take place in different fields, and it need not be academic in nature all the time. Thus, we have parent teacher conferences, sport conferences, a trade conference, a conference of journalists, conference of doctors, a conference of research scholars, and so on. A conference is a meeting that has been prearranged and involves consultation and discussion on a number of topics by the delegates.Conference and symposium are similar events where speakers come together and give their opinions on a chosen subject. Symposium can be described as a smaller conference that gets over in a single day with a lesser number of delegates.

Conferences are self-funded – i.e. people attend because they are interested in the conference subject matter. People who attend pay a registration fee, which provides for e.g. a printed book of proceedings for all registrants.


A Seminar is a form of academic instruction, either at a university or offered by a commercial or professional organization. It has the function of bringing together small groups for recurring meetings, focusing each time on some particular subject, in which everyone present is requested to actively participate. The Instructor has prepared the concepts and techniques they will present and discuss through a combination of visual materials, interactive tools or equipment, and demonstrations. It includes some take home material for the participants that relates to the lecture. A full laboratory phase is not a requirement.

Seminars are generally of shorter duration and it is possible to have several business seminars inside a conference which may last for a few days. A seminar may be organized to enhance the skills of people involved in a particular profession. In such a case, experts are called who give lectures to the participants and all participants receive a certificate at the end of the seminar


A Symposium is a formal gathering in an academic setting where participants are experts in their fields. These experts present or deliver their opinions or viewpoints on a chosen topic of discussion. It would be correct to label a symposium as a small scale conference as the number of delegates is smaller. There are the usual discussions on the chosen topic after the experts have presented their speeches. The chief characteristic of a symposium is that it covers a single topic or subject and all the lectures given by experts are completed in a single day. A Symposium – prestigious conferences, generally leading venues in their respective fields.

a meeting or conference for the public discussion of some topic especially one in which the participants form an audience and make presentations


In academia, a colloquium typically consists of a single lecture given by a member of the academic community about his or her work to colleagues who work in the same or an allied field. The audience is expected to ask questions and to evaluate the work presented. Colloquia provide scholars with the opportunity to face and respond to criticism in the early stages of the development of new ideas.

Colloquium is usually a academic meeting at which specialists deliver addresses on a topic or on related topics and then answer questions relating to them

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