Thursday, October 21, 2010


Webinars are rapidly becoming one of the most popular types of CPE. However, some people may be confused about the difference between a webinar, a webcast, and a web conference. The confusion stems from the fact that the terms are often used interchangeably, but, while they are similar, each has its own unique attributes.

Defining the Terms

The term webinar is short for Web-based seminar. A webinar can be a presentation, lecture, workshop or seminar that is transmitted over the Internet. According to Wikipedia, “it is typically a one-way communication from the speaker to the participants with limited audience interaction. A webinar can be collaborative, however, and include polling questions, and questions and answer sessions to allow full participation between the audience and the presenter.” The presenter usually speaks over a standard telephone line while describing information being presented onscreen. The audience can respond over their own telephones or by using the Internet.

A webcast, according to Wikipedia, “is a media file distributed over the Internet using streaming media technology to distribute a single content source to many simultaneous listeners or viewers. A webcast may be distributed live or on-demand. Essentially, webcasting is ‘broadcasting’ over the Internet. The term webcasting usually refers to non-interactive linear streams of events.”

A web conference is used to conduct live meetings, training, or presentations via the Internet. In a web conference, each participant sits at their own computer and is connected to other participants via the Internet. With a web conference the presenter controls what participants see on their computer monitors by sharing their desktop. The presenter can also pass control of the screen to another attendee during the presentation without giving up control of the presentation.

Comparing the Differences

Webinars vs. Webcasts – One big differences between webinars and webcasts is that webinars are always live presentations; webcasts can be delivered live or on demand. Another difference is that, webinars are interactive; whereas web casts are non-interactive.

Webinars vs. Web Conferences – The difference between webinars and web conferences is that webinars allow only limited audience participation; whereas web conferences allow substantial audience participation.


Webinars are rapidly becoming the learning delivery method of choice because they are economical, easy to produce, and convenient for the participant. You can attend a webinar at home in your pajamas or at the office on your lunch hour. There is no travel, meal, or hotel expenses associated with a webinar. You don’t have to leave home to participate and best of all you don’t have to take an exam in order to receive CPE credit for the presentation. With a webinar you can easily build learning and CPE into your busy schedule; all you need is a high-speed Internet connection and a telephone.

If you are interested in learning more about webinars and the topics that are currently available, check out the Webinar Learning Network on Checkpoint Learning at:


  1. Even though most CPAs these days prefer to maintain their CPA license through web based CPA CPE courses/training, all states do not accept web based training.

    Before registering for CPA continuing education courses make sure to contact your state board and verify your state requirements.

  2. Thanks for the comment! You'll find hundreds of online and self-study courses on our Checkpoint Learning platform:
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  3. A very informative post!

    Thanks for discussing these topics thoroughly because most CPEs aren't able to identify which is webinar, webcasts and web conference.

    Keep it up!

  4. Awesome post. This is an interesting topic which is very broad in the sense that webinar is really a great medium today especially for internet marketers.