Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Webinar and Virtual Classroom

Virtual learning has redefined the classroom learning experience and in a few years, revolutionized the way we learn and collaborate with each other. Virtual learning or e-learning has enhanced its position as a learning solution among a growing number of organizations. In addition, the great meltdown that began in late 2007 forced companies to bank on more cost-saving alternatives to conventional classroom setting. Now, companies and organizations are choosing virtual learning solutions more than ever. The best part is not the sophistication of the technology but how well the virtual tools are used to create and facilitate an engaging learning event. Two such related virtual learning tools often used for engaging dispersed learners in their workplaces are webinars and virtual classrooms. There are disagreements about the definitions of webinars and virtual classrooms. Let’s take a look.

What is a Webinar?

Webinar is a play off of the word ‘seminar’ because that’s what a webinar is – a web-based seminar. A webinar is a particular type of event held on the internet where the speaker(s) and participants are connected through their computers. It’s like an interactive event, a presentation, lecture, seminar, or workshop that is hosted online using video conferencing software in real-time.

 Webinar is basically a video conferencing and marketing tool which requires the following hardware and software: a display unit, supplied by a web browser or mobile app, and audio capability, supplied via a conference call or VoIP. One key feature of a webinar is its interactive elements and the ability to choosing your topic and discuss it with the participants in real-time. 

The participants vary from tens to hundreds in size, and the content is pre-defined and interactions are limited to a chat window, polls with questions, and answers at key points, or at the end.

What is a Virtual Classroom?

A virtual classroom is a highly interactive online session used to facilitate peer-to-peer meetings and discussions, social learning, and a variety of training and collaborative works on professional and academic projects.

 It is an online teaching and learning environment that typically involves a group of five to twenty people, where the participants can interact, communicate and discuss presentations, often using breakout room and through a range of interactive tools. 

The session is designed a part of a wider learning activity where the emphasis is on interaction for personal contextualization, discussion and application. Organizations are using virtual classrooms to deliver training in order to grow as businesses strive to stay competitive.

 A range of virtual classroom platforms is available today in the online space such as e-learning, distance education and mobile learning.

Difference between Webinar and Virtual Classroom

Definition

 – A webinar (web-based seminar) is an interactive event, video workshop, lecture, or presentation hosted over the web using video conferencing software, where a speaker, or a group of speakers and participants receive and discuss information in real-time. A webinar is a flexible way to engage in discussion with a group via a specific platform without incurring travel costs that come with face-to-face meetings. A virtual classroom, on the other hand, is an online teaching and learning environment that allows tutors and students to communicate, interact, collaborate and discuss ideas.

Purpose

 – The three key purposes of webinars are traffic, brand showcasing, and lead generation. The primary objective of a webinar is to present and discuss on a pre-defined topic that is engaging and informative to the participants. However, webinars can also be used to promote a product or service by adding surveys, polls or Q&A that further add collaboration. The purpose of virtual classrooms is to facilitate peer-to-peer meetings and discussions, social learning, and a variety of training and collaborative works on professional and academic projects.

Interaction 

– A webinar is a digital version of a seminar where the participants and speaker receive and discuss information a pre-defined topic in real-time. However, the interactions tend to be limited to the use of a chat window, polls with questions and answers at key points, or at the end. The session is mostly standalone, and a very little regard is given to pre and post activities. A virtual classroom, on the contrary, is a highly interactive online session designed to facilitate both synchronous and asynchronous online events. It is delivered typically to a group of five to twenty people, deliberately limited in size to maximize interaction.

Webinar vs. Virtual Classroom: Comparison Chart

Summary

In a nutshell, a webinar is a particular type of event held online in real-time and the topic is pre-defined and the participants vary from tens to hundreds in size. The session is largely standalone with little regard given to pre and post activities. Webinars are sometimes used to promote a product or service by adding surveys, polls or Q&A that further add collaboration. Virtual classrooms, on the other hand, are highly interactive online sessions designed to facilitate both synchronous and asynchronous online events with the emphasis on interaction for personal contextualization, discussion and application.

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References :


[0]Lancaster, Andy. Driving Performance through Learning: Develop Employees through Effective Workplace Learning. London, United Kingdom: Kogan Page, 2019. Print

[1]Christopher, Darlene. The Successful Virtual Classroom: How to Design and Facilitate Interactive and Engaging Live Online Learning. New York, United States: AMACOM, 2014. Print

[2]Taylor, Donald H. Webinar Master. Mountain View, California: Canelo, 2015. Print

[3]Image credit: https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2020/06/10/23/59/online-5284652_960_720.png

[4]Image credit: https://cdn.pixabay.com/photo/2018/03/04/20/43/webinar-3199164_960_720.jpg

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