infographic on webinar

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?

infographic online course

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.

How To Know Which One is For You?

To know which one of webinars or online courses should you be conducting, here are a couple of things to consider and ask yourself and your team:

  • Your audience; their pain points and struggles, their preferred methods or formats, and more
  • The purpose of the event
  • The cost of the webinars or the lessons
  • The availability of on-demand
  • The technical equipment
  • The media or other learning resources you'll be sharing
  • The value for the audience
  • The advantages ad disadvantages of both webinars and online courses

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.

Image source: