Pathways Virtual Support Sessions 2018

The Virtual Support Sessions for Base Camp Manager and other interested Toastmasters will continue into 2018. Events are scheduled in the Area 29 Facebook Group – you can RSVP there or send me an email to let me know you’ll be attending.

My brief is to provide a further 10 online webinars during January to March.

Welcome aboard BCMs from :

Albury Wodonga Toastmasters
Bendigo Toastmasters
Indigo Speakers
Wangaratta Toastmasters
Griffith Toastmasters
Thurgoona Toastmasters
Wagga Wagga Toastmasters
Tumut Toastmasters
DSTO Melbourne Toastmasters
Ford Australia Club
Brimbank Toastmasters
Hume Toastmasters Club
Caterpillar of Australia
Essendon Toastmasters Club
North Melbourne
Moonee Ponds Toastmasters Club
Tuesday Chatters

Base Camp Managers of my assigned clubs are welcome to request other sessions to suit their availability during these months. These can be specially modified to include demonstrations and explanations of any Pathways related procedures and can be used to invite other members of their clubs to attend.

Note: I have some time to offer VSS on demand for BCMs in January 2018, enquire within. Dates available include: 10, 12, 14, 17, 20. Times available are between 10 am and 6 pm.

See previous post for first three VSS details.

The next webinar in my Base Camp Explored series is VSS 4: Completing a Level

mountain range header for vss 4

Please subscribe to this blog or join the Area N29 VSS Group in Facebook to keep up-to-date with scheduled sessions.

VSS 4: Completing a Level – 10 am AEDT Saturday, January 13, 2018
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VSS 5 tutorials & resources event header

VSS 5: Deeper Learning in your Path – 6 pm AEDT Friday 19 January 2018
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VSS 6 feedback badges eportfolio header

VSS 6: Feedback, Badges and Eportfolio – 7 pm AEDT Thursday 25 January 2018

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Stage Four: Pathways Support with VSS

During the months of December, January and February, I will be supporting my assigned clubs in their journeys into Pathways with a series of Virtual Support Sessions.

The VSS are all scheduled in my Zoom room and the Events and Links to recordings of each will be posted for my followers in the generic Facebook group I am using for my Area. Feel free to apply to join this group.

The slidedecks that I will use in each VSS will be uploaded immediately after each session to my account at: 

base camp vss 1

Virtual Support Session 2 EVENT header
VSS 3 Its all about Evaluation event header

Here is my December schedule of VSS for your reference! Join me at these times if you like in my Zoom room:

December 7 VSS 1: Base Camp Explored 7:30 PM AEDT
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Recording Link
Slide Deck

December 10 VSS 2: Following Your Path 6:00 PM AEDT
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Recording Link
Slide Deck

December 16 VSS 3: Its all about Evaluation 2:00 PM AEDT
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Recording Link
Slide Deck



Stage Three: Virtual Support Sessions

Reflections of a Pathways Guide

I have been in planning mode for the Virtual Support Sessions!

These are a whole new learning curve for me and for those who attend! I wanted to approach this with all of my knowledge and strategies for preparing the learner for the learning process. It is a journey! The beginnings are an important part of the journey – just as we do for any travel – we gather our maps, prepare out itinerary, and pack our items to take with us. The following is a set of preparation tasks for my journey into VSS!

1. How to prepare for sessions

First, communicate with the Base Camp Managers about their needs for support for themselves and their club members. This can be done immediately after the club visit presentations, or at a scheduled time separate to the visits.

Second, schedule the Virtual Support Sessions with attention to our own time availability, the likely best days and times for attendees, and in a sequential manner. Prepare the schedule and send to the Base Camp Managers.

My VSS schedule is now in place, with capacity for flexibility. Some Base Camp Managers and club members who want to attend will want to know in advance and plan their own availability.

My followup after the club visit presentations has been to email out to the Base Camp Managers in each of the clubs in my Area. This emails contains the invitation to attend, details of online location and support for new users of Zoom, along with instructions on where to find and RSVP to the events in a Facebook Group for the Area.

I prefer to use an existing Facebook group that I setup some years back when I was the Area Director. Many of the Club Base Camp Managers were already members of this group.

I simply added the rest and notified them all by Messenger.

Note: not all are on Facebook, so Google calendars and emails are also necessary for sheduling and notifying.

2. What to include in sessions

I have also begun to map out the content for a series of VSS, that are sequential in content and focus! These are for the moment under the banner of Base Camp Exploration and Base Camp Management!

I am keeping this process flexible and enable ‘user choice’ – I want to ensure that the Base Camp Managers want to attend – being mindful of the What’s In It for Me approach!

Base Camp Exploration is a series of five sessions focused on Base Camp Mastery:

  • Getting Started in Base Camp
  • Gaining Confidence with Education Transcripts
  • Navigating a Path
  • Completing a Level
  • Completing a Path

This segment is intended for their own learning within their chosen path and levels prior to helping others.

Base Camp Management is a series of five sessions focused on Base Camp Management:

  • Base Camp Manager responsibilities overview
  • Evaluations and Eportfolios unpacked
  • Base Camp Dashboards explored
  • Projects and Level Completion verification
  • Materials and Support strategies

This segment is intended as a train the trainer to empower them to help members in their own clubs.

3. How to facilitate the sessions

During the open segment of your VSS, do the following:

  • be the logistics manager and
  • steer attendees through use of on screen tools
    eg chat panel, video, microphone, hand raiser

Some strategies to keep in mind for the actual facilitation within a VSS include attention to engagement for the attendees. These are:

  • Prepare your virtual meeting “room” – have your slides open on the desktop ready to share
  • Keep your participants involved – ask questions of them and pause for their responses
  • Manage common dysfunctions in virtual meetings – ensure that attendees know when and how to use chat panel and microphone (eg: use the tools and permissions afforded to the Host to Mute All)
  • Focus your meeting with virtual engagement strategies – provide stimuli for interactions in voice eg Q & A, Panel Discussions, Round Robins, Table Topics.

4. Follow up process

Each of the VSS will be recorded and links provided in the Facebook group as well as emailed out for others!
Some sets of slides already seen by those club members who were in attendance at club visit presentations, will be narrated and stored in my Slideshare account. Notification of those will be sent out to the Base Camp Managers for sharing with those members who were unable to attend.

You comments are welcomed!

Pathways Express Gathers Steam!

Pathways Guide Reflections

Stage Two: October Presentations

Getting ready to enthuse club members during my assigned club visits about Pathways Experience!

I have considered the audience prior to the visit and found out a little more about who will be there and what their expectations will be. For the most part this has been done through direct contact by phone or in person with executives, and in particular, I asked about what else was happening during their meetings. Knowing where my presentation was to fit within the meeting agenda was important – this varies between clubs – and will help me put the presentation into context. In some situations I will be the only presenter after the club runs its contest, with me as a Judge. In other clubs I am an invited guest to special celebratory function prior to the meeting which involves a meal.

Key learning #1 Set the context for my attendance

I am now considering optional methods of showcasing Base Camp where there is no Internet connection provided – the use of the Quick Guides for each of the Video Tutorials will be useful here. I can show these on screen as PDFs and add the files to the USB that is delivered to the VPE for distribution electronically.  I can help to ‘show’ them the navigational aspects of Base Camp without actually being in Base Camp. This also showcases the Quick Guides as an alternative to the video tutorials – keeping in mind the different learning styles of the club members.

Key Learning #2 Provide flexible resources as take aways

My first presentation provided me with feedback on how to improve my workshop style and in particular how to be ‘more prepared‘ for answering the questions frankly and with confidence. The Master Q & A Log is a key resource for me in this regard, and reading some sections again prior to the presentation can be helpful. The document itself is dynamic and changes with new additional questions and answers as they arise in the Pathways Guides Support Webinars. Therefore I need not rely only on a print based version of the document.

Key Learning #3 Be prepared for the questions from the floor

By restructuring the basic PowerPoint presentation, I was able to divide it into 4 distinct segments: overview, what stays the same, what is different, and WIIFM. I have also built in 4 Q&A activities to mark the transition between the 4 segments.  A final segment is provided to indicate the various ‘support’ resources available to them, especially the information about the Virtual Support Sessions scheduled. I have also injected a little humour into the presentation to lighten the process and make it more enjoyable! More ‘fun’ activities will feature in my later presentations where I have had time to fine tune best practices for these activities.

Key Learning #4 Engage with the audience by creating a fun presentation!

Finally I have made a point of working within Base Camp, using the ePortfolio tool in particular, to store the ‘feedback guides’ from each of my presentations. I needed to find a way to record the anecdotal feedback and store it using the new tools from Base Camp. For the moment, I have chosen the Project called ‘Communicating Change’ from the Mastering Presentations path – a level three project which has an Evaluation Guide closely aligned to my objectives as a PG presenter.

Key Learning #5 Utilize the new tools in Base Camp now to gain confidence in their use

Getting on board the Pathways Express!

Pathways Guide Reflections!

Stage One: September self-paced learning

PG Badge D70

During September I focused on my preparations and learning for my new role as Pathways Guide. Found the process quite time consuming and unnecessarily complex – I do not agree with the enforced step-by-step sequential method of training that is used – it seeks to force the exact same learning process on each Pathways Guide, regardless of their technological or self-directed learning skills. I forged on anyway as a self-directed learner and gained some insights for the task of engaging members of my assigned clubs in the Pathways Education. It felt like I was learning in isolation, but I knew that all other PGs in Region 12 would be doing the same, so I suggested that each District in which my assigned clubs live, provide a social media group for cooperative learning opportunities.

Once I had access to the forum for sharing and networking the process seemed less isolated and I could ask my questions of others who may be a few steps ahead of me.

Key Learning #1:
Provide access to an online community (Facebook Group) for each Area.
Area North 29 already exists as a group – this I setup when I was Area Director.
Action #1: liaise with Area Director to setup a group for Area M 34.

Next I sent my Club Visit Planners to all 9 of my assigned clubs to alert them to my proposed visits and requested a one hour presentation time on their agendas. The dates were carefully aligned to their fortnightly club meetings and to my available time during October and November. With a bit of careful scheduling I realised I could fit one visit in each week. No more than that as my visits involve quite a bit of travel and overnight stays, as many of my assigned clubs are regionally located in Northern Victoria and Southern New South Wales. Now I felt a little more in control, as I could schedule and complete this process in my own manner. It was extremely helpful to have the details of club executives sent by the PDQs (Program Quality Directors) from each District. I also valued the pre-contact with clubs in Area M34 made by the Chief Ambassador from District 70 to introduce me.

In my emails to the executives, I also included some early dates for the Virtual Support Sessions that I was to provide for the VPEs in the assigned clubs during my six month project as Pathways Guide. These could begin once the Rollout of Pathways for District 12, happens in December 2017, giving all members access to Base Camp.

Key Learning #2:
Provide a clear communication with the executives to emphasise the importance of the introductory presentations and the follow up support.
Action: Keep copies of emails sent out for reference!

Key Learning #3:
Provide a schedule of virtual support sessions that established a pattern for me and flexibility of dates and times for the VPEs.
Action: Use the Virtual Support Sessions template to list my Zoom sessions.

I completed my Pathways Guide tasks in Base Camp and also reviewed one of the pre-recorded webinars from WHQ on Navigating in a Path – this gave me a more detailed view of what the learners will be expected to do at Base Camp. These recordings are accessible in the Master Q & A Document as links to GoToWebinar sessions conducted by WHQ.

Key Learning #4:
In my opinion these webinar recordings provide added opportunities to move ahead in the PG learning experience, even before Pathways has actually launched. They showcase a presenter navigating through the Paths and Levels, Transcripts and Profiles as a learner in Base Camp.
Action: Plan to incorporate that advice into the Zoom Training for PGs on October 21.

By completing the PG Quiz, I was able to reflect on the learning acquired and apply my new knowledge to answer all questions. A couple of questions gave me pause for thought – and I realised my own need for comprehension of question and need for thorough reading of resources.

I note that there is quite a glossary of new terms for learners to understand in Pathways and I will prepare a print out of those in preparation for my club visits.
When I accessed or ‘launched’ the Glossary I found that it did not include any explanation of this selection of ‘navigation terms’ used throughout the Base Camp.

  • Open Curriculum
  • Activate
  • Launch
  • View Training Details

Key Learning #5:
More anecdotal assistance will be required for clubs to understand the terminology of Pathways. Need to be able to put the terms into context for our presentation audiences.
Action: prepare to utilise some terminology games as part of motivational Base Camp Scavenger Hunts for those who join me in the Virtual Support Sessions.

Currently I am looking at ways to add value to the standard Pathways Presentation by considering the needs of the learners in understanding:

  • terminology,
  • navigation in Base Camp,
  • the differences between Pathways and traditional Toastmasters education,
  • the enhanced sets of 10 learning paths (options), and
  • the requirements for each of the 5 levels (completions).

My preparation for the Presentations will include practice with the slides and scripts, as well as attention to structuring the one hour training for maximising impact and enabling retention through participatory activities. For example chunking the presentation into 4 x 15 minute segments with activities in each.

  1. Slideset 1 pages 1-15 – provide the rationale and background to the change to Pathways
  2. Slideset 1 pages 16-27 – provide the overview of what Pathways is and includes reference to the changes in Evaluation resources and encouragement to pursue the Pathways Mentor program
  3. Slideset 2 pages 1-20 – provide an overview of getting started with login, navigator resource, choices of paths, and self-assessment process for Recommended paths.
  4. Slideset 2 pages 21-30 focusses on what changes and what stays the same for Meetings and DCP; as well as the local support team

Key Learning #6:
There is too much content in the presentation to provide comfortable and memorable training in one hour.
Action: plan to continue to use the slide decks above during the Virtual Support Sessions.

For the use of the PowerPoint Presentations, I am keen to ensure that the Pathways videos:

  1. Members Share Their Pathways Experience
  2. Introducing Pathways

are both available to play during my club visits without relying on Internet connection to play from YouTube. Noted: the Title of these in the Scripts for PGs vary from what is actually shown as their title in YouTube.

For this preparation I reached out to another PG who had already mastered the art of downloading the videos as MP4 files and storing those in the same folder as the PowerPoint Presentation file. By creating a new slide with links to the MP4 files resident on my computer, I can be assured that they will play without the need for Internet connection.

Key Learning #7:
Think ahead to the situations in which the presentations will be made and consider the following:

  • technology restraints
  • learning retention and concentration spans

Action: check after each presentation what could be used to improve the impact on learners – need to provide a feedback sheet. Q. Is there one supplied for the PGs? If not suggest that it be added.

There is still much to do! But I do feel more organised for my first club visit presentations.