While Visions of Symposium Danced in Their Heads…

Posted:19 December 2017

Author: Corrie Rhyasen Erdman, Community Learning Network

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A friend of mine celebrates Christmas in July because it is the only time of year her large family can gather now that the kids are grown up, scattered across the country, have jobs, partners and kids of their own. Last week, I got to experience the CALP version of an early Christmas.

One of CALP’s seasonal gatherings is the Literacy and Learning Symposium in September, which so many of us look forward to, but who would be thinking about it, let alone working on it this far out? If you are Pat Halewich you don’t stop thinking about it all year round. Pat is the CLN’s Events Specialist and she plans CALP’s premium provincial training event every year. It takes all year to plan.

It may surprise you to know that the presenters for Symposium are selected in December. It’s true! This was my first year being a part of the selection process and let me tell you it was complex, difficult and exciting. It was exciting because there were so many fantastic proposals from talented presenters with a range of expertise that will help all of us in our work and roles. It was difficult because there were far more proposals (55 proposals) than there are spots (33 spots) in the schedule so not everyone can be accepted. It was complex because there are many factors to consider when selecting proposals.

As all good adult learning facilitators would do, we made the selection process into a sorting activity! Let me give you a picture of how the process looked:

Review 55 proposals - Sort them into 25 different Symposium threads



Sort…discuss..select...                                                       repeat…                                         


Sort by session length – different colours for different time slots

Organize 33 sessions into 2 full days of workshop sessions (out of 3.5 days of the Symposium schedule)

Fortunately, CLN didn’t undertake this task on our own. We invited our partners to join us – Calgary Learns, ECALA, University nuhelot’įne thaiyots’į nistameyimâkanak Blue Quills, Rural Routes, a CALP representative and Advanced Education. It was valuable to have so many lenses to inform the decisions about which training sessions will be most relevant and practical for CALP staff this year.

After spending the day learning about all of the great topics, presenters and learning in store for all of us, I can’t help but be excited about the Literacy and Learning Symposium 2018! If your anticipation is growing too then good news for you…registration opens in early March 2018!!

Corrie Rhyasen Erdman
Training Manager


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