No, this is not the name of a new music group!
What is RPL?
RPL means Recognition of Prior Learning – a method of enabling skilled practitioners in all fields to obtain recognition for those skills acquired prior to starting a course of study or applying for credit transfer. I see a correlation here for our entry into Pathways; or at least I see a missing element that would ease my entry into a specific Path in Pathways.
Here is the official explanation from the National Training Board in Australia:
Recognition of prior learning is an assessment process that involves assessment of an individual’s relevant prior learning (including formal, informal and non-formal learning) to determine the credit outcomes of an individual application for credit.
RPL is known in many countries under different names, but ultimately each one provides a method for recognizing competence against a given set of standards, competencies, or learning outcomes. For a brief description of RPL, visit Wikipedia.
What has this got to do with Pathways?
An RPL process would enable Toastmasters to demonstrate that they are capable of undertaking specific levels in Pathways based on evidence of skills and knowledge gained throughout their previous history of Toastmaster membership.
As a skilled Toastmaster with many years of experience I would have preferred an option for me to immediately apply for RPL in Levels 1 and 2. These two levels are the same in every Path! Although I may breathe new life into the 8 tasks required of me in the Mastering Fundamentals and Learning Your Style, they do not present any new challenges for me. This same scenario is placed before me each time I start a new Path and it does not engage or enthuse me!
Therefore I propose that a process of Recognition of Prior Learning be applied to Levels 1 and 2 to enable a skilled Toastmaster to begin a new Path at Level 3 if they have already met the criteria for the projects in those levels previously, or have already completed one Path.
The RPL process could be built into each Path – providing a much sought after option. The Toastmaster could be presented with the RPL choice at both Level 1 and Level 2 when they access their Path in Base Camp. The RPL could appear as an option in the Transcript and a new RPL Process could be accessed by the Toastmaster by downloading it as a PDF. The process could involve the ‘verification’ by a Base Camp Manager, just as they do for a completed level.
The outcomes of an RPL process would:
- increase the enrolment potentials for Pathways by experienced Toastmasters
- reduce the repetitive nature of speech activities in the club meetings (especially advanced clubs)
- enhance the engagement and enjoyment of Paths immediately for all Toastmasters
Level UP for the new adventure!
Once I have achieved competence in Mastering Fundamentals (Level 1) and Learning Your Style (Level 2), I believe that the Levels 3-5 in Pathways presents the most attraction and valuable challenges for experienced Toastmasters. This is where the adventure begins! By enabling experienced Toastmasters to Level UP quickly through an RPL process, we would be able to enthuse them to enter Pathways. By alerting experienced Toastmasters to the NEW projects, competencies and opportunities in the Electives, early in their planning process, we would be able to entice them to consider the Pathways journey more pro-actively.
- Level 3 Increasing Knowledge, is where each Path takes off into different directions and focus. Level 3 introduces new required projects and offers the choice of 2 Electives.
- Level 4 Building Skills introduces opportunities to challenge your skills with another required project and provides choices for 1 more elective.
- Level 5 Demonstrating Expertise provides even greater challenges for your speaking and leadership skills with one or two required projects, as well as one more elective.
Required projects vary according to the objectives of each Path! For instance:
- in two of the Paths, the project focus on Public Speaking (Presentation Mastery, Engaging Humor)
- in three of the Paths, the projects focus on Light Leadership (Leadership Development, Motivational Strategies)
- in three of the Paths, the projects focus on Moderate Leadership (Dynamic Leadership, Strategic Relationships, Team Collaboration)
- In two of the Paths, the projects focus on Strong Leadership (Effective Coaching, Innovative Planning, Persuasive Influence)
Persuasive Speaking, Managing a Difficult Audience, Prepare to Speak Professionally
Know your Sense of Humor, Engage your Audience with Humor, The Power of Humor in an Impromptu Speech, Deliver your Message with Humor
Planning and Implementing, Leading Your Team, Manage Successful Events.
Understanding Emotional Intelligence, Motivate Others, Team Building
Develop a Communication Plan, Communicate Change, Develop Your Vision
Negotiate the Best Outcome, Manage Change, Lead in any Situation
Making Connections through Networking, Public Relations Strategies, Leading in your Volunteer Organisation
Successful Collaboration, Motivate Others, Lead in any Situation
Reaching Consensus, Improvement through Positive Coaching, High Performance Leadership
Present a Proposal, Manage Projects Successfully, High Performance Leadership
Understanding Conflict Resolution, Leading in Difficult Situations, High Performance Leadership
Choose Electives Smartly!
The choice of Electives is the fun part of Pathways and will entice greater participation across the broad spectrum of Toastmasters experiences, goals and passions. If Electives are presented to the Toastmaster early in their Pathways planning phase, the Toastmaster can be better prepared. Electives will be the key to the uptake of Pathways in the next phase of its implementation in our clubs – from July 2019 to June 2020.
We need to ‘showcase’ the exciting parts of Pathways and set targets within clubs to reach 100% enrolment in Pathways for all members by June 2020. How can we do that? Breakout the Electives! Make them accessible now!
Note: Did you realise that when you have completed a Path, you have access to all the Online Classes for all Electives when you return to that archived Path in your Transcript. You have them at your finger tips.
Electives can be chosen according to how well the Elective project fits into the goals and themes for their Path. eg a Toastmaster focussing on being a better presenter online may select the electives: Understanding Vocal Variety, Create a Podcast, and Prepare to Speak Professionally.
These will help fine tune their speaking style for:
- range of audiences
- voice recording
- presenting on the small screen
The Electives are varied in content and purpose and will challenge Toastmasters who are seeking NEW learning in different environments. In some Electives, there are multiple tasks and some request more than one speech. Ensure that you get a full overview of tasks and speeches involved with each, as you plan your Path. eg a Toastmaster who is focussing on building international leadership skills may select these electives: Make Connections through Networking, Building a Social Media Presence and Ethical Leadership.
These will help fine tune their international image and improve:
- networking capabilities
- social media awareness
- leadership in diverse cultural dimensions
See D73 website for a dynamic set of Paths and Projects: select the one you want and drill down to the summary of each project by clicking on the + sign.
I believe that you can really make your Pathways Education journey more exciting by looking closely at the Electives and planning to include them strategically in your Path. Start planning now!
What are your favourite Electives and why did you choose them?
What did you learn from tailoring your Path to suit your goals and aspirations?
- apply to join the Pathways Discussion Forum for in-depth conversations about all things Pathways
- plan to join the Online Webinar “Motivating Members to Start on Pathways” scheduled for March 30 at 11:30 am AEST (12:30 UTC) in Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/426959509
- plan to join the Online Webinar “Pathways Elective Choices” scheduled for April 27 at 7:30 pm AEST (08:30 UTC) – watch for details here: https://d73.toastmasters.org.au/online-education/ https://zoom.us/j/5333799282