What’s the difference between webinars and online learning?

The two terms are often used interchangeably, but there are in fact distinct differences between webinars and online learning. In this short article, we’ll outline the main differences and weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of each.

What is a webinar?

Sometimes called ‘online workshops’, ‘interactive seminars’ or ‘masterclasses’, webinars are typically an online presentation, which is either delivered live or as a pre-recorded playback at a scheduled time. Webinars can be thought of as the online equivalent of a seminar or training session, hence the name. For staff who prefer a predetermined schedule, webinars can be an excellent learning tool for seamless online delivery of training. Although some webinar hosts may provide live interaction in the comments section, webinars may feel static and rigid when compared to the flexibility that online training offers.

What is online learning?

Most online learning platforms (also known as learning management systems, or LMS) are specific online platforms that provide a single location from which users can interactively learn about a topic. This learning method is excellent for staff training, as it boosts engagement, rather than simply clicking a video play button or signing into a webinar. One of the largest advantages of online learning is that the information is usually broken down into manageable chunks that can be readily accessed at a time to suit the user. This approach to training provides a flexible learning approach that fits around the schedule and workload of each individual. With this method, progress is trackable, meaning you can visibly see progress, and even set up handy reminder emails to encourage progress towards a learning goal. Some platforms can even be configured to track team-wide performance and encourage a friendly competitive spirit, as well as displaying a clear overview of team development for employers.

Which is right for my business?

Regardless of your industry, the chances are you’re looking to provide your team or business connections with informative, reliable training that has a long-term benefit for all. If you are looking to provide one-off access to advice, FAQs and insights from industry professionals, signing your team up for a webinar may be a wise choice. If you’re looking for a learner-friendly platform with in-built team accountability, online training is the better choice.

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