RPL and the Electives

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)

Public Speaking

Presentation Mastery:
Persuasive Speaking, Managing a Difficult Audience, Prepare to Speak Professionally

Engaging Humor:
Know your Sense of Humor, Engage your Audience with Humor, The Power of Humor in an Impromptu Speech, Deliver your Message with Humor

Light Leadership

Leadership Development:
Planning and Implementing, Leading Your Team, Manage Successful Events.

Motivational Strategies:
Understanding Emotional Intelligence, Motivate Others, Team Building

Visionary Communication:
Develop a Communication Plan,  Communicate Change, Develop Your Vision

Moderate Leadership

Dynamic Leadership:
Negotiate the Best Outcome, Manage Change, Lead in any Situation

Strategic Relationships:
Making Connections through Networking, Public Relations Strategies, Leading in your Volunteer Organisation

Team Collaboration:
Successful Collaboration, Motivate Others, Lead in any Situation

Strong Leadership

Effective Coaching:
Reaching Consensus, Improvement through Positive Coaching, High Performance Leadership

Innovative Planning:
Present a Proposal, Manage Projects Successfully,  High Performance Leadership

Persuasive Influence:
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?

Recommendations:

  1. apply to join the Pathways Discussion Forum for in-depth conversations about all things Pathways
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/pathwaysdiscussionforum/
  2. 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 
    https://www.facebook.com/events/255925301983852/
  3. 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

Pathways Conversations with Julie: Week 2

Pathways Conversations week 2

Dear Julie,

My best memory as a Pathways Guide is of the growth of networking opportunities within and across districts in Australia. We started small with social media groups just for the guides in D70 and D73 – this enabled us to gain valuable social learning with our peers. Then we branched out with a Region 12 Guides and Ambassadors group – in this one we could share further afield from the southern most state of Australia (Tasmania) to the northern most state of Queensland and talk with guides from the west coast in Perth through to South Australia and the east coast states of New South Wales and Victoria.

region 12 FB group

My best memory of a Path is a feeling of pride and elation when that first Path was completed. I had selected Effective Coaching as my first Path, and as you know, it requires a High Performance Leadership project to complete Level 5. Once I had completed all the requirements of the HPL – the project itself (six months of work), the guidance committee and steering committee 360 degree evaluations, and the paper work (well the online clicks in my Transcript), I was able to view my Proficiency Certificate. That was a very proud moment!

certificate of proficiency EC

My best memory of a project was the Write a Compelling Blog! I was eager to tackle this one early and I knew more or less what I had to do even in January when I was still on Level 1. So with a little bit of guidance and help from you I began my series of blog posts on the ‘Pathways Treader’ – a hero’s journey, describing what it felt like to be a Pathways Guide. If I had my time over again I would not have tried to do this in the last 8 days of the month – that was a stretch for me during the summer months in Australia. Once I got started the whole process inspired me to continue, not just 8 posts/chapters but 12 in all.
pathways treader chapter 12

Link to Chapter 12

Pathways Guide Memories

The best memories of the role did not really eventuate until I took on the role of leading a small team of Online Pathways Guides (OPGs) who volunteered their time and energy to supporting the clubs in District U. By then I was more confident with Base Camp and so were the teams – we were in much better shape to help clubs across the world! The network of online Toastmasters was the gene pool from which these OPGs were recruited. Many were immersed in online clubs and/or had been involved as Pathways Guides or Ambassadors in their own districts.

In hindsight, I saw my first efforts as a Pathways Guide for D70 and D73 as the real training ground for what we did next – connecting with Toastmasters in different geographic regions of the world and providing them with the stepping stones to success with Pathways.

As in any leadership learning experience we have been able to implement the lessons learned from previous support strategies and blend them into a new model for providing guidance and mentoring services for the 30+ OPGs. We learned from our early mistakes and polished our skills to a new brightness. One thing I recall as being extremely complex was the task of matching the OPGs with the clubs in District U according to compatible time zones. That task alone took several days of work and my mind was in a spin looking at club meeting times, locations of the OPGs, their languages and any need for French or Spanish speaking guides.

Note: it became crucial to know what club meeting times were in UTC terms so that we could calculate for our own time zones. My best friend was the World Clock Time and Date Conversion site and my computer date and time for current times across the world.

time zones

Dear Readers,

This was my call to action in Chapter 12 of my early posts and it is still the most asked question of me as a Pathways Coordinator. What would you suggest?

comment keyCall to Action

Here is where I need your help!

Please leave a comment below with some ideas on personalizing the support for individual clubs and members in ‘on boarding’ into Pathways.

Next week, Julie and I are looking for your suggestions on what questions we could ask of each other for our Friday blog posts. Look for those in the Toastmasters Pathways Discussion Forum.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road …

Reflections of a Path

250px-Cowardly_lion2Reflections on my journey in the Effective Coaching Path remind me of the experiences of Dorothy in the story of the ‘Wonderful Wizard of OZ’. Looking back and noting my lessons learned, has been an ongoing pursuit for me, as I worked my way through the preparation, the speeches, the feedback, the improvements and the completion of tasks in Base Camp. I am not sure that I have followed the ‘yellow brick road’ exactly as recommended; however I am positive that I have owned the process and learned how to reach my personal goal!

These are my lessons learned!

Lesson 1: Plan Your Path Smartly!

brain for the scarecrowJust like the scarecrow in Dorothy’s journey, I learned that I already had a brain and I just had to think differently. I learned to plan my speeches according to one of the main objectives of the Effective Coaching Path – contribute to the development of others by coaching using effective interpersonal communication.

My journey needed guidance, something or someone, to enable me to plan for my projects in advance and keep me on the Path I had chosen.

I selected a simple tool for forward planning and tracking my achievements – a spreadsheet – my Path Planner. I also selected one or two mentors who would help me when I needed advice or to see what lay ahead of me – Pathways Champions who had the experience and knowledge.

I considered the clubs for whom I could present these speeches and projects over the next two months and approached each club with a request for a speech; – more or less following the project requirements in sequence. I needed to be flexible and to be considerate of the audiences in each club and the time available on their agendas, to match the purpose of my speech. I needed to maintain continuity and consistency!

Lesson 2: Select Electives Courageously!

courageJust like the cowardly lion who was encouraged by Dorothy to join her in the journey to the Emerald City and ask the Wizard for help; I was seeking courage.

Some of the projects in the higher levels of my Path, appeared daunting and challenging at first.  I was unsure of my ability to complete!

They looked very shiny and enticing sitting on the shelf of my Electives library in Base Camp. But once I had opened each curriculum and understood what I had to do, my courage grew. My own small inner voice reminded me to reflect on what I had achieved in the lower level projects and build on that – ‘try again tomorrow’.

I considered the Electives at a deeper level, and chose those that would complement my stories, my networking and help achieve the vision of improvement through positive coaching.

Connect with Storytelling – practice using a story within a speech or giving a speech that is a story. This is how my ongoing story of the Voyage of the Pathways Guide was created.

Write a Compelling Blog – post a minimum of eight blog posts in one month to increase the readership of my blog and entice more followers. This is where my ongoing story of the Voyage of the Pathways developed, and continued for 12 chapters.

Using Descriptive Language – adding colourful language to emphasize interest and impact. My literary research into Fantasy Fiction gave me a new way of telling a story in a speech. This is how my Thursday Next series of speeches were created with more flair and panache.

Make Connections through Networking – develop and practice a personal strategy for building connections through networking. (Note: this one is on the plan for the second Path Strategic Relationships, but one that has importance for me to build in to my Effective Coaching.)

Moderate a Panel Discussion – plan and moderate a 20 – 40 minute panel discussion. This project was most enjoyable and provided lots of lessons along the way. This was where I could focus on contributing to the development of others by coaching using effective interpersonal communication. Yes, it did stretch my communication skills and polished my facilitation skills.
Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNjaSX7hFp0

Lesson 3: Complete Your Path with Passion!

heart for the tin man

The most important lesson of all is the passion you bring to the learning journey – from the heart!

For me the journey into a Path in Base Camp was a long awaited adventure, one that I really wanted to do. The anticipation of the rollout of Pathways in my District was the ‘driving force‘ behind that passion. The support that I received along my Path from a vast network of Pathways Champions gave me the ‘fuel’ to last the distance.

My role as a Pathways Guide was to contribute to the development of others – I took that on with a passion! I tracked my own progress and showed others what I had discovered along the way. This enabled me to build a series of resources that will go on to help yet more ‘pathways treaders‘ to achieve success.

My heart was in every project from the first Icebreaker to the High Performance Leadership project.

This is not the end of the Effective Coaching Path for me, yet! The HPL is ongoing for a few more months. However I wanted to ensure that I reflected on my journey here and now.

Reflections are the foundation for embedding your learning in your brain and heart, and provide the courage and conviction to move forward in your personal learning journey!