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

Guide on the Side

Are you looking for that essential ‘guide on the side’? A tool that will help you unravel all the mystique of your Pathways Experience, and lead you to a new confidence level in learning online.

Perhaps you’re an independent learner and you want to master your online learning for yourself. Or you are VP Education looking for tools that will help you to guide a new member through Pathways. Then this new Learner Guide will be ideal for you.

d73 pathways learner guide logoThis Learner Guide (Edition 1) is in draft mode throughout March and you are invited to take a sneak peak and give some feedback to the developers at D73 Team Pathways.

Here we uncover the basics for Preparing your Computer, Preparing yourself for Online Learning and taking easy steps in Base Camp. The Learner Guide is sprinkled with Tips on how to help yourself when you are stuck. Later editions will include a Help Desk for Base Camp Managers and Video Tutorials for just-in-time training.

Ten Steps for walking the Path

base camp and learner guide image for blogAdvice for those new members at beginner level or those just starting on Pathways:

  1. Know your goals for short and long term
  2. Choose a Path to match your goals
  3. Review introductory material in the online New Navigator or print version and get familiar with the Toastmasters.org website
  4. Request a mentor or seek help from others 
  5. Prepare your computer or order Printed Path
  6. Prepare yourself and time for learning – master the navigation in Base Camp and access curriculum and learning materials for your Projects
  7. Attend meetings and participate 
  8. Join discussion groups for social collaborative learning (preferably club based)
  9. Plan, prepare, request and deliver speeches 
  10. Focus on self improvement strategies given as feedback from your Evaluator

All these and more are included and expanded in the new D73 Pathways Learner Guide available here!

The Pathways Orientation, Learner Guide and BCM Help Desk will soon be incorporated into the D73 website! For now they are in a dynamic Google site. Your feedback and comments are welcomed.

D73 Team Pathways are supported in this endeavour by our District Trio and the Division Directors across the states of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.

Contact the team: pc@d73.toastmasters.org.au

New Member Pathways Kit

Essential PDFs for downloading and storing. Printable copies are recommended for inclusion in your New Member Pathways Kit.

D73 Learner Guide 

D73 Pathways Orientation

Pathways-Companion-Guide-V2

D73 Learner Guide Tips worksheet for training

Personal Eportfolio: Pathways Achievements

 

Pathways Badges

EC badgeVC badgeMentor badgeSR badge

In the Pathways program you receive badges when you reach learning milestones; these are displayed in your Eportfolio in Base Camp. I recently completed another Path and went looking for the new badge. That’s great – I can now share these badges in my Personal Eportfolio.

This WordPress blog is my preferred site for my Eportfolio to showcase and reflect on my Pathways achievements. You will notice that a new Page has been added to my Blog site designated as my Pathways Eportfolio.

Following on from my previous post, I am recommending a few easy steps to creating your own Pathways Eportfolio. If you want a more in depth learning opportunity you can visit the EPCOP google site, the Eportfolio Community of Practice Learn Space, one of my projects from long ago.

Planning your Pathways Eportfolio

 

Step 1: Determine where you wish to share your Pathways achievements

For instance you may have your own blog site, website or social media presence. The choice will depend on who you wish to share with and how interactive you want to be with your viewers.

  • If I post to a Blog, like this one, viewers can leave a comment. I can choose to approve its publication to the site and to reply to the poster.
  • If I post to a website like this old Eportfolio from the past, then there is no interaction enabled or expected, its just there.
  • If I post to my social media presence, such as my Timeline in Facebook or my Account in LinkedIn, the format is somewhat limited but I can get more networking.

What I recommend is that you create a separate Page in your Blog and invite your followers to view it from a Blog post like this one. The linking process is made simple in WordPress by enabling you to link to any other part of the Blog site from a drop down list. Most Blog platforms provide you with the ability to create Pages and provide lessons on how to do it. Please visit my Pathways Eporfolio page here.

Note: If you don’t have a Blog site you may wish to try out the Google Sites as the tool for constructing your Pathways Eportfolio in easy steps. There are many online video tutorials on how to set up Google Sites, available in YouTube. This recent video tutorial from TeacherCast, provides a great introduction to creating a Google Site.

Step 2: Determine how you wish to add the content about Pathways

If you follow a Reflective Practice process this task becomes quite straightforward.  If you have already prepared and delivered the Reflect on Your Path project you can use the outline of that for your content.

  • Describe the Path and its objectives – add your reasons for choosing the Path
  • List the Electives you chose and why – the level of detail here is up to you
  • Provide a list of the outcomes of your projects – the tangible evidence of your work
  • Analyse the impact of lessons learned from your experiences – provide thoughts on Evaluations
  • Give a brief conclusion about your experiences – synthesize what you could have done differently
  • Describe your forward plans – helps to articulate your next steps in Pathways

Step 3: Determine the most appropriate and convenient times for sharing your Pathways Eportfolio

Step 4: Revisit your Pathways Eportfolio and add more reflections as your progress.

 

Reflect on your Path

This week I have been reflecting on my progress in my third Path and unpacking what I have learned and achieved. My overall perception of my growth as a Public Speaker and a Leader has definitely changed in the 14 months I have been working in Pathways. Changed for the better!

Pathways has provided me with a welcome challenge to my personal and professional development. I now understand the Pathways framework!

My understanding of the ‘Why Toastmasters?’ question has improved and deepened – there is so much more to achievements than just completing a manual of speeches, a suite of projects in a Level or a number of roles in a meeting. Now I am much more focused on my long term goals and how to select a Path that will help me achieve them. Now I know how to plan ahead and select elective projects to fit my short term goals. Now I am a much more knowledgeable and skilled mentor after completing the Pathways Mentor Program.

I have completed Effective Coaching and Visionary Communication and almost finished with Strategic Relationships. My next Path, Team Collaboration, is already selected and I have begun to request my speeches for projects in Levels 1 and 2 with my clubs. Meanwhile I have scoped my approach to my Pathways Distinguished Toastmasters program and will be working on that during 2019.

This week I am looking back over my achievements and experiences in those Paths and preparing my final speech for Strategic Relationships.

Toastmasters like me, who reach Level 5 in their Paths, need to prepare for the final project Reflect on Your Path, as the final requirement for Path completion.
reflect on path purpose

  • What are your strategies for engaging your audience in this final 10-12 minute speech?
  • How will you summarize the skills you have learned and developed?
  • Why should you consider the process of reflecting on your growth during the completion of an entire Path?

reflecting on learning experience

I like this quote from John Dewey for its relevance to us as we reach this part of our journey in a Path.

Thinking back on the 14 projects that you have completed in the Path is essential in preparing for the Reflect on your Path project.

But what do you do after that? How do you share your reflections with an audience?

Reflective Practice

I recommend a simple Reflective Practice process to prepare for this project! This process is based on the Gibbs Reflective Cycle model.

reflective practice

  1. What happened?
    • Describe what happened during your Path:
      • who did you involve
      • where did you give speeches
      • what did you learn from the projects
  2. Thoughts
    • Self-awareness:
      • what did you feel
      • how did others around you feel
      • how do you feel about the outcomes of projects
  3. Evaluation
    • Consider your feedback:
      • what went well and not so well, in your speeches, from others’ perspectives
      • what was good and not so good about your own experiences
      • what feedback have you been able to incorporate into other projects
  4. Analysis
    • What is your learning viewpoint:
      • break down your Path into the levels and consider each one separately
      • ask new questions to dig deeper and make sense of your progress
  5. Conclusion
    • Synthesis:
      • explore what you could have done differently
      • define new strategies or directions
  6. Action Plan
    • Implement your learning:
      • consider what you will do for the next Path
      • consider how you will share your reflections with others in your club

At the end of this process you will have a speech outline for Reflect on Your Path. Plus you will have become a Reflective Practitioner.

reflective practitioner Someone who:

  • Takes the time to step back and make sense of what was done and why
  • Tries to understand the (often implicit) ‘theories of change’ that guide actions
  • Is not afraid to challenge assumptions – both their own and those of others.

Are you a Reflective Practitioner?

How will you share your reflections in Reflect on your Path?

In my next post, I will show you how to create your own Reflective Practice Eportfolio!

eportfolio for reflection on pathways

Track Pathways Progress in easy-Speak

Are you looking for an easy method of tracking your own Pathways Progress as a club member? Are you a VPE seeking an easy method of tracking the ‘actual’ Pathways project completion for your members? Consider easy-Speak.

I am an easy-Speak user and advocate for its use for Club Management. I like easy-Speak even more since a recent upgrade was made to its functionality. Now we have the Pathways Chart! Thanks to Malcolm Warden and team!

If you are an easy-Speak user, you can access the new Pathways Chart from the Club Charts option in This Club on the main menu.

pathways chart in easy speak

Above is a screen capture of a Pathways Chart from my club where the VPE can see progress being made by all members, at a glance.

This new service makes it super easy to verify completions of actual speech deliveries in your club. The green ticks indicate speeches completed at club meetings, dark green for earlier events and lighter green for more recent events. Each green tick is clickable for tracking back to the actual meeting where that speech was completed. Note: you may need to visit the meeting agenda to see which Pathways project it refers to.

Each member’s enrolled Paths are shown as clickable links in the final column. Each one will display a complete list of speeches and projects completed for that Path, showing  titles, dates and Evaluators. Here is a glimpse of one of mine! (Note: I can now mark this Workbook Complete.)

path project progress in easy speak

Now that is a smart way to manage Pathways from within the easy-Speak site for my club(s).

Are you considering using easy-Speak to manage your club?

Join the easy-Speak Toastmasters Community to get support from other users and champions at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/easy.speak.community/

Note: you can sign up to request a mentor or to be a mentor in the Mentorship program in this community.

 

Pathways conversations with Julie!

Dear Readers, I have been following Julie’s journey in Pathways for many months, as she writes her daily blogs .
  • Her blog has been a compelling read for her thousands of followers as she unravels her journey with stories of challenges, frustrations and success. I have asked Julie to share some of her thoughts on Pathways from a different perspective this month. These are the questions I have posed for her consideration:
  1. What are the favourite aspects of the Paths you have worked on?
  2. Why did you choose the Paths and how many have you completed?
  3. What advice would you give to a new user of Base Camp?
  4. What are the benefits from your work in your Paths so far?
  5. What is your wishlist for new projects in Pathways?
See her answers in her blog post the same day, Friday 12 October:

pathways conversations Part of the Pathways Exchange Blogging project!

Q1. What are the favourite aspects of the Paths you have worked on? Dear Julie, My favourites occur in the electives!
  • As you know, I was keen to explore  ‘Write a Compelling Blog‘ and ‘Storytelling‘, and this has been the source of many of our conversations by email. The blog elective, with your mentoring, improved my understanding of what a compelling blog looks like.
  • Building my blog followers by fine tuning my writing style and promoting in social media.
  • The process, starting in January this year, sparked the idea for this Pathways Exchange Blogging project. Thanks for participating.
choose a pathThanks for reading my early blogs which focussed on my experiences as a novice Pathways Guides. Taking the Hero’s Journey approach and placing my experiences in a fictional fantasy world enabled me to explore my favourite writing genre and weave in some magical images of my journey. This image on the right sparked a series of posts for a fictional Toastmaster called George. Julie, do you remember, when you and I were discussing how important it was to look ahead and find out which Paths contained longer final project? Revisit Pathways with George, post 1, post 2 and post 3 I was eager to get through the first two levels on each of my paths –  Effective Coaching (completed), Strategic Relationships and Visionary Communication – to reach the electives in level 3. I was impatient to expand my ability to speak on the topic of blogging and to change the way I structured many of my other early Pathways speeches. Since then I have chosen to write and tell stories – these had a much greater appeal at Toastmaster meetings both online and land based. Note: happily exploring those in the Witty Storytellers Online club.
  • blog 3The elective on ‘Storytelling‘ has become my all time favourite elective.
This elective has helped me to improve my speeches with stories and to add panache to my delivery. It also sparked a renewal of interest in my Family History stories that I write in Celtic Family History blog. I wish that there were more Storytelling projects like this in Pathways. Q4. What are the benefits from your work in your Paths so far? oral history 1Dear Julie, this leap into new writing and speaking adventures has given me a framework for a new community project on Oral History.
  • I am excited to tell you that this one will provide the content for the next elective on ‘Podcasting‘.
  • I had been ignoring that elective for some time, knowing that the spark for its content was still to emerge. Now I can plan a series of podcasts
Working on Storytelling projects, delivering my speeches in storytelling mode and joining your online club and listening to Pathways Journey stories in your Storyswap project, has set the scene for my podcasting journey. Distinguished Toastmaster Project in Pathways
  • As a natural extension of these activities, I can focus on combining blogging, podcasting and storytelling, as the basis for my DTM project in Pathways. This is my goal set for next year. Finally I have a project theme that will be beneficial to me in my world of Family History Storytelling and to my community learners. Note: thanks to M for suggesting this.
photos from the pastThis month I am embarking on a Digital Storytelling adventure in a local adult learning community by teaching a group of volunteer historians how to prepare oral history videos using simple software, photos, videos and recording the voices of elders in their community. I will once again be training others in the art of Digital Storytelling – something I used to do over a decade ago. I am really excited about this project and looking forward to getting back into the classroom again. It is ages since I attended the first Digital Storytelling Conference, at the BBC Wales, in Cardiff where I was born.
  • I have introduced the steering group to Zoom for meaningful project discussions and I hope to explore more of that style of collaborative and social learning online with other learners.
  • I will finish this Pathways Conversation now and focus on more answers to that first set of questions I asked of you. Hope you are enjoying this Pathways Exchange of stories. I am really looking forward to the questions you have of me.
Regards Coach Carole
  • PS I start a new module in the Diploma of Family History with the University of Tasmania this month – it is called Oral History. Everything is falling into place!

Where to go to find help!

Recently I read about the Top Ten Tools for 2018 from Jane Hart at CLP. This triggered a reaction from me – one that I could fit into the puzzle for alleviating some of the difficulty for Toastmasters to begin their online learning journey.

We make an assumption that all Toastmasters are equally comfortable in online learning or in fact their use of computer technology. This is NOT as I know it. Each of the Toastmasters I know have a variety of skills in using their computers and mobile devices. Some of the questions that we are often asked, as Pathways Guides, indicate that some of their difficulties in Base Camp are related to management of their computer environment.

With that in mind I began to think about how to provide meaningful support for our Toastmasters who need technology coaching rather than Pathways Guidance. Over in the D73 Facebook group I setup a Poll to find out what members needed most help with. One of the options I chose was
Where to go to find help when you need it?

A short video on ‘where to go to find help on Pathways’ would be useful!

I think that YouTube and Google Drive would feature in that tutorial for accessing self-help with video tutorials and documents. In it we could include how to locate a selection of the video tutorials and documents stored in the Tutorials and Resources library at Base Camp.

Let’s look at the Ten Top Tools and determine which ones will assist us with self-managed  anytime online learning. Note: I plan to unpack my own selection of these in separate posts. Today I will focus on YouTube and Google Drive.

https://www.toptools4learning.com/analysis/

YouTube

This free personal publishing tool has the reputation of being the most popular tool because of its educational, entertaining and useful content. Yes there are useful videos there on Pathways. Enter YouTube and search for Toastmasters Pathways Tutorials and you will find a plethora of them. These can be accessed in any device and you do not need to have an account there.

Help is available as a search field (in a pop-up window) and you can Subscribe to a Channel from any of the Toastmasters sites in YouTube. I recommend the D7 Toastmasters Channel and its Playlist for Pathways tutorials.

If you have a YouTube account you can create your own Playlists by adding them from your favourite Channels. Use the YouTube Help tool and search for instructions on Adding Videos to Playlist.

Google Drive

This free cloud based document sharing space has the reputation of being the most popular tool for storing and sharing documents among small or large groups of people. This tool gives you the flexibility of creating a shared space for your Pathways documents for District or Club – an easy to access repository of useful resources.

You can navigate between your own folders and documents or those shared with you. Here is an example of a shared Google Drive folder of the Paths and Evaluations in Pathways, resources from Shilpa Reddy and another example of the Pathways Starter Kit from Mark Snow

Another example of a shared folder in Google Drive is this one from Roger Fung containing all the Evaluation Forms, in numerical order, for each project in Pathways.

Tutorials and Resources Library at Base Camp

And now for the specific help that is available in the Base Camp library! 
Did you know that you can browse for Specific Training and select from these three options: Online Class, Curriculum and Materials.

Online Class: includes all of the training needed for navigating in Base Camp – these require you to Launch
Curriculum: includes any of the special programs you have accessed such as Toastmasters Mentoring Program
Materials: includes all of the downloadable items such as Evaluation Resources

This could be the basis for a prepared online video tutorial by itself. There is so much more to learn about the intricacies of Base Camp.

Online Tutorials for Everything

For those who need more basic help in the use of their Computer there is a wealth of tutorials at GCF Global.

If you need a tutorial on YouTube try this one.

If you need a tutorial on Google Drive try this one.