Empowerment

How to develop an Online Training culture in your Toastmasters Clubs

An online training program can make a huge difference in the way your club members learn fast and effectively. In land based and online clubs, specific members are stepping up to provide valuable learning experiences for Toastmasters both inside and outside of their meeting schedules – this is part of fabric of a shared learning community. It often just takes a little thinking outside the box to translate those into online learning opportunities.

Toastmasters have regularly offered one or more of the following for their clubs and districts:

  • 1-2 hour workshops in order to practice their Training skills;
  • 15 minute Educationals to teach skills to members;
  • 3-4 hour Training events for Areas
  • Speechcraft and Youth Leadership programs

Online webinars, blogs and podcasts and video tutorials are now offered as valuable real-time or anytime events – tools used by the online training champion. An online training champion can be grown and supported in your own club with a little training in the following tools and techniques.

  1. A webinar provides an opportunity for an interactive learning workshop with guest trainers from any part of the world.
  2. Blogs offer reflective learning opportunities for Toastmasters who wish to share their own learning or to read the learning of others.
  3. Podcasts offer others the opportunity to interview or be interviewed for first hand, close up and short audio visual engagement to suit those who like their learning in byte sized pieces.

None of these are new – they have been favoured by e-learning and e-training champions for decades. However, all of this can be used effectively for online training for Toastmasters in new ways using a Networked Collaboration approach. A way to share the best of the ‘best practices’ in clubs and areas near you or online.

If your club is challenged by geography and your members cannot easily attend Club Officer Training sessions you may be seeking new ways to offer effective training. This is often true for members of Online Clubs and many of them are now seeking more effective methods of training online.

The Networked Collaborative model of online training might work well for your clubs; either land based or online: preliminary training – real time webinars – followup mentoring.

Preliminary training and reading activities

  1. At changeover time, promote the use of anytime training tools and resources made available online in your club or area websites, as well as those made available from Toastmasters International. (Provide a shared document that your club officers can add to as they work through their preliminary training and reading activities.)
    For example here is a simple list of club officer tasks required of one land based club Club Officer Tasks 2017 Land Based Club can be distributed during the installation of new officers. Such documents could be provided as Google Docs for ongoing improvement or on USBs for ease of access for each officer.
  2. The Handover process can include a physical meeting one on one or as a group at a specially arranged meeting – preferably early in July. At this meeting each outgoing club officer will have an opportunity to exchange written notes, resources and assets that will help the incoming club officer. This process can be emulated by arranging online meetings; one to one (in Skype) or as a group (in Zoom). Sharing of real documentation can be done by uploading the notes and other resources to a share repository such as Dropbox. For example this link will enable you to view and download useful documents for Evaluating projects from Advanced Manuals.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/zn1623kn9ksz0qi/AAByCFeYezjMcX6UnLNbBnQha?dl=0

Online Training Webinars

We all know that training happens most effectively over a reasonable period of time and that attendance at one day training sessions will not be sufficient for some club officers who are new to the task. The Networked Collaboration Model includes a series of one hour training webinars, scheduled over the year to meet the specific needs of club officers at times most appropriate to the Toastmasters program for the year.

Club Executive Handover Webinar

mentorPrepare for and schedule an interactive one hour training session for your club or Area to focus on the most effective methods of handover for their club officers. Late June or early July is best for this webinar. Be sure to invite trainers and participants from other clubs to share their ideas, questions and experiences.

Key objectives:

  • Process – simplify the handover process,
  • Resources – provide information from the previous year and any useful documentation to assist the incumbent
  • Support – learn where to go for help, when to let go, and setting them up for success

Follow up Mentoring

The Networked Collaboration model of online training will also include opportunities to match up officers of one club with those of another club (land based on online) for a short term mentoring process as the incoming officer learns the ropes. This method may be simplified by having the outgoing officer provide the mentoring to the incoming officer in their own club.

During the mentoring process, ask each officer to make regular contact with each other and agree on duration of mentoring, specific requirements from each officer and how the communication should take place. By telephone or over a coffee in your home town cafe or online in Facebook Messenger, Skype or other social chat service. For example: some online club officers select a team of assistants and conduct regular meetings with them for forward planning, and may invite the outgoing officer to attend. These can be achieved as a series of anytime discussions in a private messaging tool or with a group in a social chat forum setup for the purpose.

This type of follow up will help implement Training into Best Practice!

Finally don’t forget the self-paced learning who prefers an individual independent method of learning.

Where do they go for their visual learning? You can find a video tutorial for mostly everything on YouTube. Consider these videos as potential ‘any time’ training tools for your Toastmasters club officers and members who prefer the self-select method of learning. Visit YouTube and seek out those video tutorials that will help your incoming officers.

For example, there are many video tutorials on YouTube for those club officers who need to learn best practice in the use of easy-Speak club management tool. Conduct a search for easy-Speak videos and include links to these for your new club officers.

 

 

New Series: Network Centred Collaboration!

This month I am focusing on the benefits of Online Champions of Change! I have some reflections to share with you and some information on what I know about current Online Toastmaster Champions and how to develop a network of future champions.

Reflections of a Flexible Learning Leader

Phase One: E-learning

All good things come to those who wait! Yes, sometimes it takes considerable time in waiting for larger organisations to change. E-learning was one of those changes that took place in the years 2005 to 2008 in Australia and took about three years to embed into the Australian Adult Education environment. Just before that change was implemented the Australian Flexible Learning Framework initiated a Flexible Learning Leader program that enabled a cohort of over 200 trainers from Universities, TAFE, Industry and Community Education, to research, explore and build strategies for embedding e-learning. They were known as the Flexible Learning Leaders (FLL). My turn as an FLL, began in 2002 and my focus was on developing e-mentoring strategies for e-learning teachers.

As the Flexible Learning Leaders program completed and reflections of its success were commissioned,  I joined a team of four authors to create the paper called:

The impact of e-learning champions on embedding e-learning in organisations, industry or communities” – learn more by viewing.

The major findings from that research was:

The impact of e-learning champions

This study concurs with the literature findings that e-learning champions aspire to:

  • change attitudes towards e-learning
  • build e-learning capacity among as many teachers, trainers and learners, where possible
  • influence their organisation to adopt processes that will sustain e-learning and build the organisation’s reputation in e-learning.

The E-learning environment grew from those beginnings and Australia is now leading innovation in E-learning. The Flexible Learning Leaders are still actively supporting e-learning in their learning institutions.

Phase Two: E-portfolios

In this phase in Australian tertiary education the adoption, implementation and embedding of e-portfolios for teaching and learning emerged as the next strong contender for sweeping changes in the industry. The e-portfolio movement is still thriving today after ten years and also has its fair share of champions.

E-portfolios Australia grew from those beginnings and I was very proud to have been part of that initiative.

ePortfolios Australia is a professional network which aims to support the use of e-portfolios in Australia and beyond through professional development activities and the sharing of resources, ideas and practice.

The contributions from e-portfolio champions across the world continue to inspire new learning and assessment strategies in adult training through the embedding of e-portfolio systems and practices.

Fast Forward to Toastmaster Online Champions

I consider myself as one of the champions for online training within the Toastmasters Education program. I have explored the development of online training in different formats: from running live webinars, creating video tutorials for user training of easy-Speak. I have also developed online club officer training strategies for online clubs and instructional designed self-paced online courses  – one to help the easy-Speak Community. I am just one of many who champion the growth of online strategies for improvements in the Toastmasters experience.

Online Training Champions

images for articles

There are a number of Toastmaster Online Training Champions who are exploring other strategies such as webinars for Mentoring, Social Media, Club Management, Club Officer Training and many more. Yet others provide regular Podcasts, Video Tutorials, and the use of a wide range of e-learning tools for education. Another specialist online club is beginning to attract Global Online Trainers.

The journeys of these ‘early adopters‘ provide a wealth of knowledge and wisdom in best practice for those who come after them. They are not funded or supported officially in their roles, they are doing this voluntarily for the benefit of others, to help cope with change. In my view, they too are champions,

Network of Champions

Just imagine what else may be achieved with a special ‘advisory group‘ commissioned by World Headquarters  to explore the future potentials for online training. A current network of online champions is emerging from groups of online Toastmaster leaders.  ‘Action teams‘ are exploring the realms of Education & Training Online for online clubs.

This is one of several teams which are part of the network, a group of experienced Online Club executives and members, who seek to liaise with WHQ at Toastmasters International about how best to support members of chartered online clubs and potential online clubs. Yes a group of champions leading the way and providing advice on the change from land based club management to online club management! Explorations of online club officer training is part of that.

Pathways Champions

PathwaysLogo-mask675px

There is now a need for personal skill development programs to help Toastmasters participate in the changed Pathways Education program. Pathways Guides are being enlisted to support Toastmasters who participate in those programs. The Guides themselves will undergo personal training about the Pathways program and how best to support members in clubs across the Areas in their Districts.

These Pathways Guides will become the champions for the Pathways program and assist in the implementation and embedding of change within the individual journeys for club members.

Their championship is supported by the Chief Ambassadors for the roll out of Pathways in each district. Each will continue to liaise with the Program Quality Directors in each district, as the roll out continues over the next year or so. This is the embedding process!

Another group of champions.

What have I learned in my online journeys?

I learned how to be an effective e-mentor for teachers. I learned how to implement change in adult learning institutions. I learned a great deal about change in large educational organisations through my work as an e-mentor for trainers in Universities, Technical and Further Education Institutions and Community Colleges. I also realised early on, how important it was to build a cohort of champions to assist in the process of implementation and embedding of change.

I can now use my reflective practice and knowledge gained to propose a rationale for Toastmasters to build their own network of Online Champions. I began this week to consider the characteristics and tasks of champions from my Flexible Learning Leadership program and how to transform them for use in the Toastmasters environment.

What are the characteristics of an Online Training Champion?

  • skilled in online training
  • willing to share their expertise with passion and enthusiasm
  • learner focused and able to communicate effectively with all kinds of people
  • able to provide tailored e-learning messages, solutions and advice
  • enterprising and willing to solve problems: small/large; technical/non-technical
  • open to scrutiny and willing to adapt as new information comes to hand
  • persistent and model their actions on core values of integrity, respect, excellence and support
  • communicate a commitment to promoting online training and the use of technology to provide educationally sound and reliable teaching and learning solutions.

What activities do champions undertake?

Good practices by online training champions to facilitate the uptake of online training and e-learning include:

  • developing a strong understanding of facilitator, trainer and learner needs through active listening and relationship building
  • offering e-learning solutions that are contextualised to the user’s needs and build on their current skills and knowledge
  • monitoring the preparedness of learners to include e-learning in their practices
  • transferring e-learning know-how in small chunks
  • supporting learners on their e-learning journey
  • building confidence through mentoring strategies
  • improving learner outcomes based on feedback and their own research.

We now have a wealth of knowledge and expertise in starting, chartering, managing and maintaining online clubs embodied within our network of Online Toastmaster Leaders.

It is time to focus on how to model, implement and embed online training strategies into our Online Clubs. We need Online Training Champions!

Next blog posts in the series:

Network Centred Collaboration

  1. How to develop Online Training Champions in Toastmasters Clubs
  2. How to develop Champions for Change in our Toastmasters Clubs

 

 

Trialling a New Course: Starting an Online Club

landing page

I have begun to construct a Thinkific short course for those who wish to start building an online Toastmasters club.

Starting an Online Club

In this course I have been harvesting some of the resources provided by skilled onliners and bringing them together into a cohesive learning experience.

It is raw and unedited at the moment, however, I am willing to share with you so that you can make some comments on its improvement.

I am also requesting help – to harvest the wisdom of the online executive teams who have already experienced the process of starting an online club.

If you would like to contribute text, audio or video pieces to this course, please let me know. You can leave a comment if you subscribe to this blog.

These are specifically required for the latter Chapters of the course.

Here is the Course Outline:

 

 

future of online clubs … call to action

What can you do to make a difference in the future of online clubs?

That question has prompted this call to action from those who are currently experiencing membership and/or leadership in online clubs. Perhaps you are a member of a 100% online club or a land based club that accepts online membership? Maybe you are already exploring the potentials of online clubs and how they suit your journey and goals in Toastmasters?

View the slides below and decide now on how you can make a difference!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Communicate with the Online Alliance in Facebook at:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/OnlineClubsAlliance

Online Club Leadership Training

You cannot do that! Why not? It is not yet part of the training sanctioned by the Toastmasters International policy. But it could be in the future! In D73 we are exploring the potentials for providing such training sessions regularly for a continuous learning opportunity. Later we will request that our club officers in regional and remote locations in Australia be enabled to attend online training sessions as an alternative to f2f.

In Central Division of D73, regional SA, online attendance at the physical division led TLI by geographically disadvantaged club officers was successfully implemented in February 2017. This was quite different from “attending online training sessions as an alternative to f2f sessions” and separate from the division training. Says Mark Reynolds.

Similar types of Online Club Leadership Training and special arrangements with TI have been trialled by District Officers in D21 and D96, for club officers in Canada who are disadvantaged by their climate and terrain, especially in winter months. Says Ashwani Kumar Sinha.

As an innovator and a passionate advocate for the benefits of online training in many elearning fields for adult learners, I thought that it was time to ‘just do it’! Then share the learning with you.

event-logo-feb-25

Today we trialled some MicroTraining (4 x 20 minute workshops) with interactivity, among a small test group in GoToMeeting! The 1.5 hours online was perfect timing to capture and maintain the attention of the participants. Attendees were either individually connecting on their device or attending as a group. In all cases the audio and video and screen sharing worked well.

Here are my personal learning take aways from this experience:

ONLINE CLUB LEADERSHIP TRAINING:
Report on lessons learned 25 February 2017

Preparation
1. Discuss plan A and B for presenter options – device specific
A presenter may be in a car on a mobile device or on a ship using a laptop.

Image may contain: table, ocean, sky, outdoor and water
2. Provide plenty of Q & A opportunities – notes in text chat and using webcams and microphones

online training attendees.JPG
3. Provide link to room for presenters – enter room early and provide timely advice for attendees.

Perfect the use of PowerPoint or Keynote. Explore the viewing of embedded videos from the presentation. Like this presentation from Kevin Broughton.

Facilitation
1. Enable & encourage audience members to participate and interact – ask people by name and ask for volunteer responses
online meeting success

2. Keep to a tight time schedule – timing of each segment to 20 mins
3. Provide opportunities for text chat – summarise or paraphrase

Follow UP
1. Provide link to recording asap after event – to participants and in social media

2. Provide copies of presentations to attendees – slides, documents, diagrams

the-purple-line
3. Provide followup discussions for wider audience for what’s next – social media forum

toast.JPG

What did you learn from reading my post?
What did you learn from attending the Trial D73 Online Leadership Training?
What did you learn from viewing the recording of the Trial D73 Online Leadership Training?

Feel free to comment here in this blog, or join the Toastmasters Without Borders group in Facebook and contribute to the discussions there.

Thank you to Toastmasters Without Borders for hosting this first exploration into the potential of Online Club Leadership Training for D73.

Online Toastmasters: Curious?

district-u-division-o-membership-growth

Since March 2016 the number of Online Clubs in the chartered and prospective categories have grown – a 184% growth rate. Many publications have featured stories from the Onliners and there are many conversations about them in social media, and I am sure you have heard of them. This the start of something new and exciting that many of you may be interested in including in your Toastmasters journey.

Yes there are 8 online clubs now and more to come soon. Together we are exploring how to:

  • schedule meetings online
  • manage meetings online
  • form strong communication bonds in social media
  • manage club contests online
  • schedule training workshops and Educationals online within club meetings
  • manage inter-club contests online
  • schedule leadership training workshops between clubs
  • bring ideas from all online clubs together as an Alliance

What is it like to be in an online Toastmaster meeting?

A Zoom meeting enables many Toastmasters to be onscreen simultaneously, Gallery View. All can be seen and heard if they choose to share webcams and microphones.

Meeting formats are usually the same as those at land based clubs. Toastmaster introduces the session, the role players and the speakers. General Evaluator introduces the Table Topics Master and the Evaluators. Round Robins may be held at the beginning of a meeting to introduce new members or visitors and a networking session may be held at the end of the meeting. The Timer uses innovative devices to display the times and we have the Grammarian, Ah Counter listening and giving reports.

Here’s how you can benefit from visiting an online club meeting:

In Zoom

  • You can switch from Gallery View to Speaker View to focus on the speaker.
  • You can Pin the video image of the Timer so that it is visible at all times.
  • You can share your screen for presentations and web sharing.
  • You can text chat to participants in general or in private.

zoom-many-to-many

Who are they?

Links to the following chartered clubs are available at Find Online Clubs in TI.
These are part of District U, Division O, Area O1.

List of chartered clubs are available at Dashboards in TI:

division-0-area-1-26-november-2016

List of Prospective Online Clubs are available at Dashboards too.

prospective-clubs-feb-2017

Where can we meet and chat with them?

There are a number of social media groups for Onliners in Facebook that you can explore!

Online Toastmasters
Online Training for Toastmasters
Toastmaster International Online Club
Toastmasters Online
Online Alliance

And these are just the ones I subscribe to. Please leave a comment with a link to others that you would like to see added to this list.

A few individual Online Clubs have a social media or web presence here:

Firebirds Executive  Visit schedules here http://firebirds.easy-speak.org
Great White North Online Visit schedules here http://greatwhite.easy-speak.org
Netizens Visit schedules here http://netizens.easy-speak.org
Witty Storytellers Online Visit schedules here http://wittystory.easy-speak.org 

Some of the Prospective clubs invite you to join in here:

Toastmasters Without Borders Visit schedules here http://tmwithoutborders.easy-speak.org
Online Presenters Visit schedules here https://op.toastmost.org/ 

How can you visit their club and attend their meetings?

Use the links above to access the easy-Speak site or WordPress site for the clubs and self-select to be a visitor for their meetings. You will find that each club specifies the Time Zone conversions for their meetings on their Agenda pages.

What software do they use to conduct their online meetings?

Most of the current clubs are using GoToMeeting and others are using Zoom. Both of these platforms offer different experiences.

Visit GoToMeeting Support site for downloadable support documents and video tutorials.

Visit the Zoom.us Support site for popular video tutorials.

MICROTRAINING: ONLINE CONNECTIVISM FOR TOASTMASTERS

My passion is for designing effective online training for learners. Over the last decade I have participated in many projects that have collaboratively designed, developed and facilitated online learning programs for elearners in adult education facilities in Australia.

During my 15 years in Toastmasters I have seen the need for online training that would provide a choice for those club officers who are regionally based and remote from capital cities in their countries. They need online opportunities to build their skills, work on projects to enhance their clubs, and network with others who perform similar roles; using structured training methods.

In 2016, when online clubs for Toastmasters emerged, my plans turned towards methods for designing, developing and facilitating online training for their club officers. During my six months as mentor for one such online club, I focused on providing online training for them. This was a High Performance Leadership project with the vision of trialling  Club Officer Training Online an online ‘self-paced course’ accompanied by a series of online workshops.

Lessons learned from that project included possible solutions to the following set of questions:

  1. How can you design and tailor training for club officers in an online club?
  2. How can you develop effective training activities for an online club?
  3. How can you provide any time networking opportunities for participants?
  4. How can effective real time sessions be scheduled for online clubs?
  5. How can you motivate the club officers to undertake the training?

The process used for this HPL project involved three elements:

  • Base Camp – a self-paced suite of modules accessible at any time in Moodlecloud
  • Communication Channel – a closed social media group in Facebook
  • Workshops – a series of real time one hour events using web conferencing tools

infrastructure

The MoodleCloud learning management system was selected as I was already skilled in building courses in this environment and had many years of experience in being a facilitator. However the use of a ‘gated online space’ requiring password entrance was not familiar to participants and was not used in the way it was anticipated.

The Facebook group T.O.A.S.T. (Training Online for Advanced Strategic Toastmasters) was created to enable conversations, notifications and follow up recordings. The group enabled the creation of Events with automatic reminders to the participants.

Click Meeting was selected initially, then discarded as it did not measure up to the quality of audio and video required for the online sessions. GoToMeeting was preferred by participants.

The COTO online workshop experience was scheduled during June/July and featured a series of real time workshops; one per week for six weeks. However, not every officer could attend at the time selected or for all of the sessions.

Lessons Learned: select an online space that does not require any logins for the content and use online social media spaces and web conferencing tools that are familiar to the participants. Most importantly design the learning experiences to fit with the time zone and time availability of the participants.

Club Officer Training Online: Influences

During the next couple of weeks I plan to develop and explore alternative online Microlearning training experiences that would be appropriate for club officers in land based clubs. I acknowledge that frequently, the biggest ‘barriers’ to effective training is the time required to devote to it, including the travel time to attend f2f events. Toastmasters are busy people and effective training will need to fit within their available time OR it will NOT be given a priority rating. Advanced Toastmasters will also NOT be engaged with regurgitated learning that is irrelevant to them. They want timely, relevant, effective and engaging training in small, easily digested chunks.

Toastmaster training for busy club officers could benefit from a Microlearning approach.

Microlearning is the method of breaking up longer courses into their core ideas and delivering them in bite-sized, digestible pieces. Each module consists of just one snackable idea and learners can chow through as many modules as they have time for in each sitting – then return to where they left off the next time they have five minutes to spare.

Source: CourseGenius Blog

A Microlearning approach that takes into consideration the needs and time availability of the learners, would suit Toastmasters.

Club Officer Training Online: Recommendations

I plan to blend the theories of Microtraining and Connectivism when designing the online experiences for busy Toastmaster club officers.

Microtraining

Effective MicroTraining that will fit into the two training months of the year, February and August, would suit the club officers of any Toastmasters club.

The Microtraining method is an approach aimed at supporting informal learning processes in organizations and companies. Learning in this sense means that an active process of knowledge creation is taking place within social interactions, but outside of formal learning environments or training facilities. This process can be facilitated by well-designed and structured systems and by supporting ways of communication and collaboration, like the Microtraining method does. A Microtraining arrangement comprises a time span of 15–20 minutes for each learning session, which can activate and maintain learning processes for a longer period if bundled into series. A Microtraining session can be held face-to-face, online or embedded in an e-learning scenario.

Source: Wikipedia

Connectivism

Connectivism is the integration of principles explored by chaos, network, and complexity and self-organization theories.

Source: Connectivism by George Siemens

For Toastmasters, connectivism is the effective networking between people that capitalises on the existing relationships and communications between club officers and clubs in Areas, Divisions and Districts.

connectivism

Stage One: Preparation

I will be guided by these steps in preparing effective training experiences:

  1. research the needs of the club officers as online learners
  2. network with other districts who provide online training
  3. collaborate with a team of trainers who are skilled and experienced in designing effective online experiences for Toastmasters

Stage Two: Design and development

The team will be guided by these steps in designing effective training experiences:

  1. create an online space in which the design of the training can take place
  2. design the elements of an effective Club Officer Training Online program
  3. develop the elements as Microlearning components and real time online Microtraining workshops

Stage Three: Trial and facilitate

The team will be guided by these steps in facilitating effective training experiences:

  1. promote and invite participation from officers in regional and remote land based clubs in Australia
  2. schedule and facilitate a series of 3 real time online workshops to fit the time availability of participants
  3. tailor the program to include any time access to the Microlearning components

At the conclusion of the trial, report on the lessons learned and improvements to be incorporated.

This is the beginning of an innovative approach to Club Officer Training Online!

microtraining