Frequently Asked Questions (REP)
Additionally, there was a growing need to augment the current program by providing greater access to educational materials, expanded learning resources and an educational experience with real-world application. In short, the goal of the revitalized program is to meet the evolving needs of our members.
Following FAQs will give you more information on REP.
First a needs assessment was completed. During this phase Board committees were established to assess what’s learned in the education program and identify gaps in learning. Additionally, member surveys were also performed to validate member needs and requests.
Once the needs were assessed, the project moved into the Content Design phase. This is when core and sub-competencies were identified. An educational roadmap was created that included learning paths to build specific skills with project levels that build in complexity. During this time, the Learning Masters group was created to help validate content and provide feedback on how the existing Toastmasters education program was used in clubs. The Ambassador Program was also launched to help share information to members about the program as it develops.
Following the Content Design phase, the Content Development phase took place. This includes all project content--every word of every project, including:
- Competencies learned with each project
- Identification of activities and resources that reinforce learning, such as:
- 58 projects
- Videos and other interactive elements
- Toastmasters Handbook for all members in the revitalized education program
- An initial assessment that will be completed by all members to determine their recommended learning paths
Next, the educational content was tested with members. More than 800 members from 168 clubs participated in the Content Pilot, which ended this past December. The members completed the REP learning projects in the club setting. Through project surveys, they provided feedback to the REP team at World Headquarters. The feedback received about the educational content was overwhelmingly positive.
Currently, the program’s Learning Management System (which enables members to use the program online) is being integrated with the educational content, and testing of the system will soon begin. The testing will ensure that the program is completely ready for members by the time it launches.
The materials developed will help prepare our leaders and are vital to deepening understanding of the program and the new processes associated with it. Materials will include:
- Updates of existing content and marketing materials
There will be three phases of testing conducted in advance of introducing the program to members.
- Alpha testing will be conducted first to improve the quality of the REP and ensure its readiness for beta testing. The goals of Alpha Testing are to:
- Simulate the user experience
- Identify any system bugs and apply “fixes”
- Test the new system internally and how it interacts with processes such as logistics, distribution, and support
- Beta testing will be conducted next to continue to improve the quality of the REP, ensure readiness for the Program Pilot phase and, ultimately, the rollout. Goals for beta include:
- Simulate user environment in a holistic manner
- Test applied “bug fixes”
- Test support processes
- Identify and correct any logistical issues
- The Program Pilot is the last phase of testing and will include a small group of users to test in a “live” environment. The main objective of the Program Pilot is to expand testing and measurement of the impact of the program, continue to improve program quality and ensure rollout readiness. This will offer the opportunity for capacity testing, ensuring that the technology and support services are properly prepared in advance of rollout. Goals for the Program Pilot are to:
- Validate implementation
- Measure participant sentiment
- Evaluate resource allocations
A phased rollout approach will be used to introduce the program so that the impact of adding large numbers of members to the program can be measured, as well the impact on technology and support capabilities. Potentially 10 districts per month will be invited to participate. The order of districts has not yet been determined.
The assessment will help identify current skill levels, as well as skills the member wants to enhance. This will help determine the recommended learning path.
There are five disciplines:
- Public Speaking + Interpersonal Communication
- Interpersonal Communication + Strategic Leadership
- Interpersonal Communication + Management
- Public Speaking + Management
- Public Speaking + Strategic Leadership
These disciplines are based on the core competencies in the program, which are:
- Public speaking
- Interpersonal communication
- Leading and managing
- Leading strategically
- Building confidence
The REP will launch with two learning paths for each area of learning, totaling ten.
There are 14 projects for each learning path. Individual learning paths will have five levels, each increasing in complexity.
- Level 1 Mastering Fundamentals (3 Required Projects)
- Level 2 Learning Your Style (3 Required Projects)
- Level 3 Increasing Knowledge (1 Required Project, 2 Elective Projects)
- Level 4 Building Skills (1 Required Project, 1 Elective Project)
- Level 5 Demonstrating Expertise (2 Required Projects, 1 Elective Project)
The Learning Masters are a team of members that vary in education, leadership experience, time spent in Toastmasters and professional backgrounds. They have partnered with the development team to:
- Share their experience of learning through Toastmasters
- Provide input about what they would like to see in the revitalized program
- Validate assumptions of learning ideas and tools as the project progresses
- Serve as beta testers for the revitalized program
The Chief Ambassadors are a team of members that have extensive experience in the Toastmasters organization with various cultural and geographic backgrounds. The role of Chief Ambassador includes:
- Leading the Ambassadors of the district
- Educating the Ambassadors and other members about the revitalized program
- Providing updates as the project progresses
- Explaining the program’s enhancements and benefits
- Serving as a conduit between the development team and Ambassadors
- Answering members’ questions
Yes they can, as long as they feel they can commit the time to serve effectively in both roles. Both involve handling a considerable amount of responsibilities.
The revitalized education program will offer members:
- A learning experience tailored to personal and professional goals
- Development of transferable communication and leadership skills
- Greater access to educational materials
- Expanded learning resources, such as video and digital content
The program will offer online access to educational materials, video and other learning opportunities. It will empower members to connect around the globe. Members will have access to more online materials than ever before, but the club experience will remain consistent.
Members will be able to access materials both online and in print.
New, standardized evaluation criteria has been developed for the revitalized education program. The new evaluation criteria will:
- Help increase the consistency of evaluations for members around the world
- Act as a guide for evaluators
- Help to better measure the speaker’s presentation
The “Evaluation and Feedback” project is required at Level 1 of every learning path. In this project, members learn skills for both giving and receiving effective feedback.
In the REP, the goal is to offer a standardized program with the revitalized education program, so that members will feel better prepared and ultimately develop more skills. A few ways the program will be strengthened are:
- There are eligibility requirements for being a mentor.
- Formalized mentor education and training will be offered so that members can develop the skills needed to effectively encourage, guide and support protégés. They will be better equipped to help members overcome obstacles and be inspired to achieve long-term goals.
- By working together, mentors and their protégés will both gain skills and achieve more than they thought they could.
All members must complete a required mentoring project at Level 2. For those that want to continue Toastmasters mentorship training, additional elective projects are available at Levels 3, 4 and 5.
All awards earned in the current education program will continue to be recognized as Toastmasters achievements. There will be new education recognition opportunities in the REP with new titles, which are still under development.
Members working toward an education award when the revitalized education program starts can complete those awards if they wish. The current and revitalized programs will run concurrently for a minimum of 24 months after all districts have been included in the program rollout.
The DTM will continue to be the highest level of recognition that a member can receive. The requirements for earning a DTM are still being defined. It is being carefully considered so that there is parity between the current program and the revitalized education program.
There is a World Headquarters committee dedicated to reviewing the Distinguished Club Program, how awards and recognition may change, and what will happen during the transition period. The committee will present its recommendations to the Board, and the Board will ultimately decide on these issues.
No, everything in the current program will not change. Toastmasters is modernizing and enhancing the existing education program. The traditional core values of the Toastmasters education program will remain in place. Achievement and recognition will still be vital. However, the way you can access educational content will change in dynamic ways.
Manuals will change, but materials will reflect the same Toastmasters core competencies, with additional enhancements to the program.
No, it will not be possible to use the same speech for two different projects. The revitalized program will have a specific assignment for each project, but members will have the flexibility to deliver the speech in a way that is preferred.
There has been a concerted effort to ensure that the club meeting format will remain the same as much as possible.
The phased rollout is tentatively scheduled to begin in early 2017. However, the program will only launch when it is ready—in other words, until it’s the best it can be and members can effectively be supported.
Information about the revitalized education program can be found in the Resources section of the Toastmasters International website under education. You can also reach out to your club’s Ambassador for more information.