In its traditional definition, a webinar is an online seminar. Like a webcast, a webinar is also primarily one-way communication from a presenter to attendees.

However, webinars often employ interactive techniques such as polling, chatting, or whiteboard annotating.

If you think about how television newscasts have evolved over time, many modern news programs now incorporate audience interaction through social media and other techniques. It’s the same with a webinar. The information shared is mostly one-way from speaker to audience.

The speaker(s) use slides to present, while periodically involving attendees through polls and other brief interactions.

While some webinars can be highly interactive, most are not.

You might think of a webinar like a university class, with an expert professor behind a podium and hundreds of students sitting in an auditorium. The class will have some interactivity through questions-and-answers, assignments, and quizzes. But the large class size limits the type and frequency of interaction available.

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If your organization’s human resources department decided to hold informational sessions about a new company travel portal, and throughout the event they offered several opportunities for discussion and dialog, then this type of session—if held online— could be called a webinar.