A Symposium is a formal gathering in an academic setting where participants are experts in their fields. These experts present or deliver their opinions or viewpoints on a chosen topic of discussion. It would be correct to label a symposium as a small scale conference as the number of delegates is smaller. There are the usual discussions on the chosen topic after the experts have presented their speeches. The chief characteristic of a symposium is that it covers a single topic or subject and all the lectures given by experts are completed in a single day. A Symposium – prestigious conferences, generally leading venues in their respective fields.
A Conference refers to a formal meeting where participants exchange their views on various topics. Conference can take place in different fields, and it need not be academic in nature all the time. Thus, we have parent teacher conferences, sport conferences, a trade conference, a conference of journalists, conference of doctors, a conference of research scholars, and so on. A conference is a meeting that has been prearranged and involves consultation and discussion on a number of topics by the delegates. Conference and symposium are similar events where speakers come together and give their opinions on a chosen subject. In other word a large formal meeting of people that typically takes place over several days. It involves lectures by distinguished speakers, several sessions, and a social programme for the delegates (in the form of an official banquet and luncheon).
A Seminar is a form of academic instruction, either at a university or offered by a commercial or professional organization. It has the function of bringing together small groups for recurring meetings, focusing each time on some particular subject, in which everyone are requested to present for active participation. The Instructor has prepared the concepts and techniques they will present and discuss through a combination of visual materials, interactive tools or equipment, and demonstrations. It includes some take home material for the participants that relates to the lecture. A full laboratory phase is not a requirement, in short A meeting involving formal discussions, which may or may not involve presentation of a paper (or papers); with the discussions being led and directed by a seminar leader.
A Workshop includes all the elements of the Seminar, but with the largest portion being emphasized on “hand-on-practice” or laboratory work. The Lab work is designed to reinforce, imprint and bring forward an immediate functioning dimension to the participant’s eye and hands by implementing and practicing the actual concept or technique that was taught through the lecture and demonstration process. In short, A gathering (usually for training-related matters), where the audience is divided into group(s) and undertakes some activity, rather than simply listening to a speaker.
Consortium: A short-term partnership among several firms (not necessarily belonging to the same industry or country) to combine their resources towards undertaking a project that benefits all of them.