In 2010, the Toastmasters Board of Directors crafted a five-year strategic plan that laid out the goals and objectives for the organization
over the next five years. The plan’s centerpiece? A call to revitalize the Toastmasters education program. Much of the communication track hadn’t been updated since the 1970s, and leadership became a separate track in 2005. The Board stressed the need to modernize the communication track and to renew the focus on leadership learning in the leadership track. The original vision marked the beginning of a hugely ambitious effort to enhance the education program. Early in the process a Board committee analyzed the skills, competencies and attributes required to succeed in all different roles in Toastmasters, including club-meeting roles and leadership roles at all levels. The committee studied where members learned these skills, competencies and attributes—was it in Toastmasters or outside Toastmasters?
This detailed analysis was a critical step in the revitalization process: It determined the gaps in the Toastmasters learning experience.The process for change was set in motion under the working title: “Revitalized Education Program” or REP. Ultimately, the program would be called Toastmasters Pathways reflecting a journey of possibilities and progress. From the outset, members have played a vital role in the revitalization process. Early on, more than 270 members were chosen to be Learning Masters, a group that offered valuable feedback to the Pathways team on the educational content and learning experience. Other members were chosen as Chief Ambassadors and Ambassadors,to share information about the program with members, making them aware of the many benefits it offers, providing updates on its progress and answering questions. The Pathways development team also gathered data through a competitive analysis and member surveys.They learned what members wanted to see in an education program:
■ Real-world skills they could apply to their personal and professional lives
■ A better use of technology in the educational journey
■ Online access to educational projects
■ A flexible learning experience to help them meet their individual goals
The content that has resulted from this early and extensive work reflects a dynamic, skill-loaded program that will benefit members in many ways.They will have greater access to educational materials, expanded tools and resources and a customized learning experience, designed to help meet personal and professional goals.
(Excerpt from: “The Possibilities of Pathways” by Paul Sterman, Toastmasters International Magazine, July 2016).
Pathways Resources for D95: http://toastmastersd95.org/pathways/
Pathways Q & A: http://toastmastersd95.org/pathways/pathways-qa