Symposium 2019: Focus on “Content” & “Contact”

Posted: 8 October 2019

Author: Pat Halewich, Community Learning Network

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On behalf of the Community Learning Network, I would like to thank you for attending the Literacy & Learning Symposium 2019!

Our annual Symposium continues to be a wonderful opportunity to gather to learn, connect and contribute – our theme this year. There is nothing better than spending time with CALP practitioners, with people who get it, forming lasting relationships that help us to do the work that we all do with and for adult foundational learners.

On that note, there are two very important components of professional development and training events and they are “content” and “contact”.

Here’s what we planned and designed for you for Symposium 2019 with both “content” and “contact” in mind:

Content – a range of professional development options including:

  • Conversation Café Q & A Sessions
  • Keynote Presentations
  • 80-90 minute, half-day, full-day and 2-day breakout sessions
  • Meet-the-Experts Sessions

 Contact – a variety of ways to network, share and engage with others including:

  • Community Connections Showcaseclosing keynote
  • Regional Connection Sessions
  • Fireside Chat Room
  • Social
  • Poster Presentations & Banner Displays
  • Annual Pin Recognition – Years of Service Awards
  • Adult Learner Speakers
  • Awards Banquet
  • Symposium2019 Event App

To recap Symposium 2019 with regards to the “content” and “contact”, I have included some fast facts for you as well as some learning takeaways. Hope you enjoy reflecting back on the week as much as I did and please add your thoughts in the comments section below.

Fast Facts…


  • 292 attendees joined us at Symposium 2019
  • 90% of CALP Programs from across Alberta attended Symposium 2019
  • Attendees were CALP staff, Board Members, Facilitators/Instructors, Volunteer Tutors, Other Volunteers, Comprehensive Community College Representatives, First Nations College Staff, Library Staff and Government Representatives 

Overall Survey Results

Rated as very good or good by respondents in the evaluations received so far:

  • Day, time and length of event: 96%
  • Valuable opportunity to share information and network: 97%
  • Quality of training/session delivery: 97%
  • Relevance of training/session content: 97%
  • Symposium Program/Presenters: 97%
  • Keynote speakers: 96% (of those who responded)
  • Overall organization of the event: 99%
  • Symposium2019 App: 96% (of those who responded)

Learning Takeaways

Closing thoughts from some of our Symposium attendees…


  • “Cementing the foundational learning ideas.”
  •  “Understanding better Adult Foundational Learning.”
  •  “All of it.... but learning how to better provide for my learners was the most relevant.”
  •  “New to the area - I now have a much better global perspective in adult learning in Alberta.”
  •  “The keynotes, half day sessions and especially the learner sharing.”


  • “The classes were fantastic, but the networking was also a huge key to my professional development.”
  • “Connections and possible partnerships.”
  • “The contacts that were made was so valuable.”
  • “Conversations with other Coordinators outside of sessions was THE BEST.”
  • “Thank you, this event was extremely well thought out, organized and implemented. There was a lot of heart put into this, much appreciated!”

Closing thoughts from some of our Symposium presenters…

  • “Thank you and well done! I hope to be more involved in the great work you are doing!”
  • “The conference had a great energy and it felt like people were really invested and happy to be there. Many thanks, I enjoyed interacting with your dedicated folks!”
  • “I had a great time at the Symposium – the attendees were interactive and engaging. It was a pleasure to present.”

 And one last closing thought from one of our attendees describing the event overall:

“Enjoyed all the learning and connecting... thank you.”

Both “content” and “contact” were our focus, and it’s encouraging to know that you felt that we hit our mark - thanks to all for sharing your experience at Symposium 2019!

Staying in Touch…

Photos and Presenter PowerPoint Presentations

CLN will be updating the Symposium pages on the CALP Portal and on the “Symposium2019” App in the coming days with photos from this year’s conference, along with presentations and resources that have been shared by this year’s presenters. Please go to: or visit the “Symposium2019” App in the coming days.

Suggestions for Symposium 2020

We would still love to hear from you if you have any suggestions or ideas for sessions or presenters for next year. Your input is important to us! Please email with possible ideas.

With that said, from all of us at CLN we wish you a wonderful 2019-2020 CALP programming year and hope to see you at next year’s Literacy & Learning Symposium during the week of September 29th to October 2nd, 2020 in Edmonton!

Pat Halewich
Events Specialist (Symposium Event Lead)
Community Learning Network


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