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The Disadvantages of Educational Seminars

by Kori Morgan, studioD

A seminar is an extended discussion led by an expert on an educational topic that usually takes place over two or three days. Participants typically read research or literature in preparation, and each day's session involves teaching methods such as reading discussion, presentations and group activities. While seminars can help you make professional connections, renew your enthusiasm for a topic and gain advanced knowledge, the decision to attend is also wrought with disadvantages.


Seminars cost a lot of money to run, and as a result, the cost for attending can be prohibitive to many potential attendees. According to marketing expert Ralph Elliott, seminar organizers have to strike a delicate balance between meeting expenses and creating a good value for audiences. Even if the seminar itself is a good deal, however, other expenses like hotel accommodations, food and travel are usually your responsibility, preventing many people from attending.

Time Away from Work

While seminars can be a great way to immerse yourself in a particular subject for a few days, time away from your job and life responsibilities can bring stress into your time of education. Home business management expert Vishal P. Rao states that it may even prohibit people who would like to attend the seminar from going at all. For example, the inability to get time off from work, a lack of child care or other family responsibilities can all make attendance complicated.

Preparation and Participation

Even if time away from work and life is doable, seminars frequently require that you read a packet of materials or do research on your own time before your arrival. Not only can this preparation take extra time, but a lack of preparation can actually lessen the quality of the seminar. University of Nigeria nursing professor Nike Olaogun states in his nursing seminar guide that "lazy learners" will be unable to contribute significantly to discussions and activities, creating the inactive environment of a college lecture.

Risks and Expectations

Seminars also may not involve quality speakers. Since many people attend to hear an expert speak about the chosen topic, the quality of the experience can be drastically reduced if the speaker shares incorrect information or is not even an authority. Additionally, expectations that the seminar will be a quick fix for educational or business issues can result in dashed expectations and a feeling of wasted time. Rao suggests doing your own careful research in regard to a seminar's benefits and credibility.

About the Author

Kori Morgan holds a Bachelor of Arts in professional writing and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has been crafting online and print educational materials since 2006. She taught creative writing and composition at West Virginia University and the University of Akron and her fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in numerous literary journals.

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