MALAT Virtual Symposium 2021 Reflection



The 2021 MALAT Virtual Symposium delivered an insightful and inspirational experience to kick off my MALAT journey. A significant reason why I enrolled in the MALAT program was the chance to gain exposure to learning outside of my sector. My choice was validated in the first presentation I joined when Cindy Harris (2021), spoke about the significant benefits of cross-discipline exposure in environments like the MALAT program. Throughout the week I made meaningful connections in all the presentations I took part in. The most impactful connections to my current work came from the presentations and discussions surrounding relationship building.

In my role, I serve as Project Lead and Instructional Designer for learning initiatives across four separate lines of business; relationship building is at the core of what I do. Cindy Harris (2021), asserted the importance of facilitating strong relationships as an Instructional Designer. Melanie Meyers (2020) echoed this, referring to ‘Relationship Builder’ as part of the job description of an Instructional Designer. I have experienced the most successful project rollouts with teams and stakeholders that communicate well, and where all parties feel safe to express themselves. Communication and trust will contribute to team success (Boies et al., 2015). I will take the advice offered by Cindy Harris and show up as my authentic self and use my skills and abilities to best serve the team (Harris, 2021). I can further define my role as a Facilitator and Guide by intentionally incorporating relationship building into my role. The Institute for Performance and Learning in Canada also recognizes the importance of these relationships. In 2016, the Institute’s revision of the competency framework for learning professionals included the introduction of a new key competency, Partnering with Clients. This competency framework highlights the need for relationship building to ensure the project meets the needs of the learner and the organization. (Institute for Performance and Learning, 2016).

I found significant value in attending the 2021 MALAT Virtual Symposium. The diverse perspectives across the presentations have been a welcome glimpse into what is to come. My curiosity has been sparked and I am excited to dive into the topics discussed on a deeper level.


Boies, K., Fiset, J., & Gill, H. (2015). Communication and trust are key: Unlocking the relationship between leadership and team performance and creativity. Leadership Quarterly, 26(6), 1080–1094.

Harris, C. (2021). The person in the middle of the road: one educators journey supporting training and education [Webinar]. Virtual Symposium.

Institute for Performance and Learning. (2016). Competencies for performance and learning professionals

Meyers, M. (2020). Many Hats: Why Flexibility and an Open Mind Matter [Video]. Virtual Symposium.

2 thoughts on “MALAT Virtual Symposium 2021 Reflection

  1. Hi Melissa,

    I attended a two day Digital Learning Symposium by CANeLearn this week, and one of my major take-ways was exactly what you have cited so perfectly in your post – the integral nature of relationships within learning, regardless of the context. I also agree that communication is key to building relationships. I’m curious to know what forms of communication your find most effective for doing this? In person, video-conferencing, phone, email, a combination of multiple…

    This is a massive topic, but I’d love to hear if you have other key tips, as sometimes I jokingly say that members of a team should first identify their best modes of communication.

  2. Hi Alisha!
    Thank you for your comments.
    In my role, I work with different SMEs and teams constantly. I often do not ‘know’ them or have any experience working with them. I try to be flexible and go with the forms of communication they are most comfortable with and are already using. I have learned that it is extremely beneficial to fit in a casual video or phone call to establish a personal relationship right from the beginning.
    Microsoft Teams is amazing for calls, chats, screen share, sharing files, etc. I also use Articulate Review for elearning courses which is a great collaborative tool for the review process.
    I’d love to hear any other advice you might have from your experience as well!

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