infographic on webinarinfographic online course

Are you torn between conducting a paid webinar or creating an online course for all employees because of a new in-house software you’re hoping to launch?

Is there even a difference between webinars and online courses?


Yes, there is. 

We sometimes have a tendency to interchange the two methods thinking both may be referring to the same thing. Both are e-learning methods, yes, but they also have distinct differences.

It’s important to specifically pinpoint the differences between a webinar and an online course in order to determine which works best depending on a particular circumstance. Remember that both are intended to serve different purposes and audiences. 

Let’s dive deeper, shall we?

A web-based seminar or webinar is typically a live teaching session offering a broad range of various topics followed by a question-and-answer portion from the viewers at the end of it. Although usually free, webinars often aim to promote either a premium service, a new product being launched, or an upgrade of features on existing company services. So you can expect that a webinar topic is usually aligned with whatever the sponsoring organization is selling. While it is usually delivered live, webinars can also be prerecorded and would last between 30-60 minutes. It is intended for a wider audience. If you’re worried about inclusivity, there are webinars that have real-time captioning features.

Online Courses
Online courses, on the other hand, dive deep into a particular subject matter, delivering more in-depth knowledge that is similar to what you’d experience when enrolling in a university class. And like any university course, online courses are also divided into modules, lessons or units. Online courses are also referred to as an e-learning module, a digital course, an e-course, online training, etc. There may be a couple of websites offering free courses but the majority of the content is paid. Online courses are intended for groups of people learning about a specific subject matter.

Differences of Webinars and Online Courses in Format and Structure:



  • Lecture-style presentation
  • Broad topics
  • Usually conducted live
  • Typically free or very minimal charges
  • Some provide an on-demand link of the video for those who weren’t able to join but have registered

Online Course

  • In-depth content/class
  • Custom-made per specific topic
  • On-demand learning resources that can be accessed anytime as long as you are enrolled in the class
  • Has free short courses available but longer courses will cost you more



Opening – A trained webinar moderator will introduce the and expectations are laid down. A brief introduction to the topic is made. 

Body – This is the essence of a webinar. This portion is where the topic is completely discussed alongside the subtle integration of product promotion.
This is where visual aids are utilized to assist slide decks. 

Closing – The host will summarize the main topics, give emphasis on the key points, and open the floor for the attendees’ questions. There are a few webinar services providers that offer testing modules after the live session. 

Online Course

Objective – Much like the webinar’s opening portion, this is where the goals and expected key takeaways are explained.

Content – These are the learning resources, the downloadable PDFs, the training video transcript, supplements, and other interactive learning materials. 

Assessment – Most paid courses have assessments or exams at the end of every course especially if they’re offering certificates after completion.


Advantages & Disadvantages of Webinars and Online Courses


infographic about online courses

Again, both are great e-learning tools to utilize. You just have to know your intended purpose, your target audience, and your allocated budget.

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