By Janette Alexander, DTM
Tony Figueroa, DTM, Pathways Chief Ambassador
Pathways is the new, updated and modernized education program for Toastmasters and it is coming to the district in 2018! It is a tailored program that will provide the opportunity to develop skills relevant to both your personal and professional goals. The exciting part is that it is self-tailored. This means you select your own path and goals. Educational materials will primarily be online but you can get paper copies for an additional fee, if you desire. Club meetings will remain the center of your development experience.
Pathways features 10 paths instead of the two current educational tracks of communication and leadership. We will be losing the old designations such as CC, CL, ACB, etc. The only designation that will remain is the Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM). Each of the paths will have 5 levels of increasing complexity. Recognition will come as virtual badges and certificates as you earn them.
The 10 Learning Paths:
- Motivational Strategies
- Presentation Mastery
- Leadership Development
- Innovative Planning
- Visionary Communication
- Strategic Relationships
- Dynamic Leadership
- Persuasive Influence
- Effective Coaching
- Team Collaboration
The 5 Levels:
- Level 1: Mastering Fundamentals
- Level 2: Learning Your Style
- Level 3: Increasing Knowledge
- Level 4: Building Skills
- Level 5: Demonstrating Expertise
Each path has required and elective projects. A path is completed when 14 projects (10 required and 4 elective) are finished across the 5 levels. Each project includes at least one speech. With so many new choices, how do you decide which path is right? Toastmasters International has an online assessment tool that looks at your skills, interests and goals to make recommendations for the three best paths for you. This is a recommended first stop before selecting which paths to undertake!
Since the program is largely online, each member will access his or her Pathways using “Base Camp.” Using this portal will give you access to learning tools, videos, interactive quizzes and activities, feedback and recognition. In Base Camp you will also be able to work on projects, track your progress, view badges and certificates and connect with club members. Each club will have a Base Camp manager, usually the vice president of education (or the club president or secretary). The Base Camp manager will be responsible for approving speeches outside the club, verifying level completion, tracking member progress, and verifying project completions for members using printed materials.
The computer requirements you’ll need to ensure faster downloads:
- Computer: 1 GB of RAM,
- 1 GHz Processor
- Display resolution: 1024 x 768
- Network and connectivity: 5Mbit/s (recommended: 8Mbits/s)
- Browser with TLS 1.1 or higher enabled
Base Camp compatible browsers:
- Microsoft Edge
- Internet Explorer Version 10.0 or higher
- Chrome 22.0 or higher
- Safari Version 7.0 or higher
- Mozilla Firefox Version 23.0 or higher
The changes to the core educational program will impact the requirements for the Distinguished Toastmaster designation as well as the Distinguished Club Program (DCP). Under the DCP, there will still be 10 goals (six educational and four non-educational) but the particulars change to accommodate the new requirements. For example, the fifth Pathways DCP goal—one member completing Level 4 in a learning path—will earn your club the same amount of DCP credit as the current fifth goal: one member earning a CL, ALB, ALS or DTM. During the transition period (see below), clubs will be able to choose goals between the use of the Pathways criteria, the current criteria or a mix of goals from both programs.
The new requirements to achieve DTM are:
- Complete two learning paths.
- Serve as a club officer for 12 months. (If your club has six-month terms for officers, you can fulfill this requirement by serving as a club officer twice, but you don’t have to do it in consecutive terms.)
- Serve as a club mentor or coach.
- Serve as a club sponsor or conduct a Speechcraft or Youth Leadership program.
- Serve as a district officer for one year.
- Complete the DTM Capstone project. (Members are required to create a project of their own design, in which they demonstrate the skills and expertise they have gained.)
Your regular membership dues cover the cost of your first path; however, if you choose the printed materials option for your path, there is a $25 printing fee. The cost for an additional path is $20, and if you elect to work in printed materials, the $25 printing fee also applies. If you are working in one path and decide to switch to another path, you do not need to pay an additional $20 as long as you make the exchange within 30 days of the original purchase. The $25 fee you pay for a path with printed materials is not refundable. Take note: you can always print out copies of the Pathways materials on your own, at no charge. If you are enrolled in Pathways online, you can print out any of the materials on Base Camp.
There will be a two year transition period beginning when we roll out the program in District 83. During this time, the current program will run simultaneously with the Pathways program. You still have time to complete a DTM under the current program if you are midstream in the process! Additionally, the district will deploy numerous Pathways Guides to visit each club to offer support and guidance. You will be getting more information soon from our District 83 Program Quality Director, Manny Reyes, and the District 83 Pathways Chief Ambassador, Tony Figueroa. We are one of the last districts being rolled out so we have the advantage that all the kinks have been worked out, and that we can look to the experiences of our predecessors.
This article only covers the basics of the Pathways program. Please visit and explore the Toastmasters International website www.toastmasters.org for additional information and instructional videos.