What is the difference between a webinar and a videoconference?

Videoconferences and webinars are an integral part of our professional and personal lives. We tend to confuse these two terms, but do you understand the difference?

What is the difference between a webinar and a videoconference?
Doriane Stagnol
Doriane Stagnol

Video conferencing vs. webinars: what's the difference?

As digital technology advances, remote communication becomes increasingly relevant. The trend of talking to each other online, as though we were in the same room, is becoming more common. We use webinars and videoconferences for both personal and professional purposes. Are you able to distinguish between these two terms that we tend to mistakenly confuse? Understand the interests and objectives of each of these online meeting modes? If not, stay here. Let us explain everything to you!

1. Video conferencing and webinars: complementary but different

For us to understand the difference between the two, we must first imagine that remote learning can emulate as closely as possible real-world exchanges. There are two ways to share knowledge or know-how. An instructor or trainer intervenes to deliver knowledge to a class, or the participants gather together to communicate and interact.

The webinar could therefore be compared to a lecture or "theoretical" professional training: learners are in a listening position, even if they can ask questions at any time. Most of the time, online conferences are interactive since listeners can ask questions at any time. While many webinars are broadcast in real time, they can be viewed later.

There are a variety of ways to use videoconferencing: educational, professional, family, or friendly. It is analogous to university tutorials and peer meetings in the professional world, but it can also be used for everyday communication, such as checking on loved ones. Participants play an active role, which makes it interactive. Moreover, it is through the exchange with our peers that we can learn from the practices of others and feel inspired to improve.

2. A webinar or digital communication between a trainer and a student

How does it work?

"Webinar" is the contraction of two words: "web" and "seminar". It is literally a web-based seminar. Whatever your location, as long as you have access to a computer and a reliable internet connection, the knowledge is yours!

You participate in it the same way you would in a traditional course. The date and time of the event will be announced by your teacher or trainer. After registering on the web platform, you will be taken to a virtual room where the facilitator will greet you. In the case of a group distance learning lesson, you will also be able to see the other participants.

Select the modes that interest you

A webinar can be a live event or a recorded one. The recording of the web conference will be available after the meeting. If you are not available at the time of the online meeting or if you wish to watch it again, a link will be sent to you directly.

Online courses have a significant advantage in their adaptability: they are available 24 hours a day, anywhere. As a result, teachers and coaches rely heavily on this service to offer their students access to video content and other materials at any time.

During a live chat, participants can interact with each other and with the moderator. Additionally, the moderator can share documents or take polls to better understand the audience. Students can participate in small group activities in private rooms on the French platform Lemon, for example.

Review the webinar to determine if it met your expectations

Depending on what you need, it can be configured as follows:

  • Share your expertise in a particular field
  • Present a workshop or training session
  • Make your services available to as many people as possible
  • Find participants all over the world
  • Ensure that your students have access to high-quality video and audio recordings.

3. Communication between peers via video conferencing

Exceptional versatility

Remote meetings are suitable for all audiences, regardless of the setting. It is possible to schedule an appointment even at the last minute and meet online, in pairs, or in groups. You decide when, where, and what you exchange around a school project, a revision, or perhaps an aperitif, as many have done during confinement.

Bringing the best of both worlds together

It combines the advantages of real and digital by enabling users to see each other from a distance. Thus, sharing documents and making comments on them live makes it easy to finalize the final details of a file or fine-tune a presentation. Additionally, video allows one to see the body language and facial expressions of one's interlocutors, improving exchanges more human and real.


Meetings can be organized much more easily and quickly with videoconferencing. A whole team can be brought together from all over the world in an instant. Participants are more productive and the work is more efficient. Due to its infinite flexibility, digital communication offers the best working and communication conditions.

How well does video conferencing meet your objectives?

It is ideal when you have people's email addresses. This is for you if you want to:

  • Provide your employees with an assessment or a project
  • Plan the first step of a job interview
  • Meet regularly with distant relatives or friends
  • Show someone what you are talking about.

Videoconferences and webinars differ mainly in their interactivity and amount of real-time or delayed time. The former is primarily used for learning, while the latter is primarily used for collaboration. In fact, web conferencing is mostly one-way, while video conferencing allows both sides to exchange information. Despite using the same digital tools, both modes of communication have different objectives. Determine which type of usage suits your needs before embarking on the digital adventure.