Difference Between Seminar and Lecture


Main Difference

The main difference between seminar and lecture is that seminar is much smaller in period and involves more students as compared to the lecturer.

Comparison Chart

Seminar is a type of meeting for training or discussionLecture is an educational talk to students of a college or university
Time Period
Much smaller maximum up to twentyCan have over two hundred classes
Time Period
Over one hourHalf to one hour
Practical and professionalTheoretical and practical
Notes Taking and Paperwork
Discussion Level
Importance from Educational Point of View


A seminar is a form of academic speech that is often delivered by both universities and professional organization. The purpose of this kind of educational or learning activities is to bring the small groups of individuals or students for recurring meetings and focusing on some particular or general subject. In the seminar, every participant actively participates. The seminar is often accomplished through an ongoing Socratic dialogue. The class structure in a seminar depends on the subject of the lecture and format of presentation. The instructor at their own prepared for the outline and the method of presentation either by way of a combination of visual effects, simple speech, a presentation on a projector, etc. Notetaking is a good thing, but in a seminar, this activity doesn’t happen frequently. The seminar is an excellent mean for discussing assigned readings, raising questions and conducted debates. As compared to the lecture, the seminar usually has a low number of students per professor as compared to the normal courses and is more accurate to the topic of study. It revolves around the term exams, papers, presentations and several other subject matters. Most of the time it is required for academic institutes’ graduation degree. As compared to the lecture, seminars are usually arranged for the professional and upper-class students. Overall the purpose of the seminar is to familiarize students more extensively with the methodology of their chosen subject and make them able to interact with practical problems and professional life.



In an academic word, the lecture is the oral presentation of knowledge and to present the information on a particular subject to a group of people, generally the students of a university or college. These are means of delivering critical information, knowledge, theories, etc. As compared to a seminar that is more practical and based on professional approach, the lecture is theoretical in nature. Usually, the lecturer stands in front of the class or on the rostrum and delivers the relevant information. It has a significant role outside the classroom as well. According to educationalists and researchers, lectures are more advantageous as compared to the seminars as these includes instant exposure to the new material and make the teachers able to have good command and control in the classroom. These also allow the dispatching of not readily and unpublished available material. However, these are often criticized as a teaching method because many students are not capable enough to pay full attention and absorb fully what is being used by the lecturer. However, with the passage of time students get their concept formed. Overall, lecturing is accepted as an effective form of instruction. From an educational point of view, it is compulsory requirement for students to attend lectures to complete credit hours.

Key Differences

  1. A lecture is where you sit in the room, and the person at the front speaks, and you take notes. On the other hand, the seminar interactive and involves student participation with information and ideas coming from all corners.
  2. Lectures are must attend to pass a specific degree while seminars are optional.
  3. The lecture is more useful than seminar as these contain knowledge.
  4. Lecture tells you about what is written in the book while seminar is totally based on the professional and practical approach.
  5. In a lecture, professor or teacher deliver the lecture and students take the notes while in the seminar, the professor has not a visible role and he oversees the class only.
  6. In the seminar, more ideas and different subject matters come under discussion while lecture deals with one subject or idea only.
  7. As compared to lecture, students engage more in discussion.
  8. In the lecture, students take more notes and do paperwork while in the seminar, participant focus more on discussion and cross taking.
  9. Lecture focus on the presentation of information and analysis by a member of staff and lectures covers a lot of information and covers ideas to many people at once. On the other hand, seminar, provide opportunities for discussion and interaction.
  10. A lecture has some students as compared to the seminar; however, it can be vise versa according to the subject-matter.
  11. Lecture helps the users to pass an examination and get a degree while seminar helps students to develop their skills and knowledge more actively.
  12. In both cases, class structure us based on the demonstration and lecture format. In the seminar, instructor prepared the concepts and will present it through a combination of visual materials, interactive tools, and presentations. The lecture also has this means but only on important matters rather than arranging frequently.
  13. The lecture is often conducted by the university or academic institute while seminar is often undertaken by both academic and professional organization.
  14. Lectures place the student in the passive role while seminars place the student in an active
  15. As compared to the lecture, seminars are usually arranged for the professional and upper-class.
Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson