Pathways FAQ (source: https://www.toastmasters.org/Education/Pathways/FAQ)
Introduction & Background
1. Why is the education program changing?
In the 2010 strategic plan, the Toastmasters Board of Directors called for the education program to be revitalized. The Board stressed the need to modernize the communication track as well as renew the focus on leadership learning in the leadership track.
The traditional education program has served Toastmasters for many years. However, much of the communication track hasn't been updated since the 1970s. The Toastmasters Pathways learning experience is not a departure from the current program, because it builds on the established educational foundation. Pathways is a modernized learning experience suited to our changing global society. It offers you more benefits and more opportunities to learn, grow and meet personal and professional goals. You now have the opportunity to develop additional skills you can use not just in your club, but at your job or in your community as well.
If you would like to learn more about the history and development of Pathways, watch this video series.
2. Why is Pathways valuable to me?
The many benefits to members will include:
- A learning experience tailored to your personal and professional goals
- The opportunity to develop many skills relevant to an evolving global marketplace
- Recognition of educational achievements that will come earlier and more frequently
- New technological resources to improve speeches and support meeting roles
- Online access to educational materials
- Videos that model the skills you are learning
Pathways Rollout Plan
3. When will Pathways arrive in my region?
Pathways will roll out in phases to enable the Pathways launch team to manage the program's capacity and make adjustments as needed to adequately support members. After the first phase—the program pilot—is complete, Pathways will roll out by region in eight subsequent phases:
- Program pilot: District 57
- Program pilot: District 27
- Program pilot: District 51
- Rollout 1: Region 14
- Rollout 2: Region 2
- Rollout 3: Regions 6 and 7
- Rollout 4: Regions 10 and 12
- Rollout 5: Regions 3 and 5
- Rollout 6: Regions 1 and 11
- Rollout 7: Regions 4 and 13
- Rollout 8: Regions 8, 9, undistricted clubs and online clubs
The rollout order is based on several factors, including a region's size, the availability of translated materials and ensuring a mix of both international and North American regions. Once Pathways has rolled in out every region, there will be a two-year transition period in which the traditional education program and Pathways will operate simultaneously.
4.Should I wait to start Pathways or begin working in the traditional education program?
Don't wait! It's always beneficial to work on Toastmasters educational projects, so working in the traditional education program will only help you improve your skills during the period between now and the time Pathways arrives in your district. The learning you complete now will help you bring that much more to the new learning experience when you start.
5. Are my achievements in the traditional education program still relevant in Pathways?
Will the work I've done toward an education award in the traditional program transfer to Pathways?
Your progress toward awards in the traditional education program won't be transferable to Pathways because the projects and structure of learning in the programs are different. However, you still have plenty of time to complete awards you are working toward. When Pathways rolls out into the last two regions—Regions 8 and 9—there will be a two-year transition period to allow you the opportunity to complete your work and move over to Pathways.
Please note: Any service you have completed as a club or district leader that has not been applied toward an award can be used to fulfill your next education award in the traditional education program or Pathways (including club leadership, district leadership, club sponsor, club mentor, club coach, Youth Leadership Program and Speechcraft).
Will my achievements in the traditional education program still be recognized after Pathways rolls out?
All educational achievements will remain part of your record with Toastmasters International. Competent Communication (CC), Competent Leadership (CL) and other awards earned in the traditional education program will always be recognized by the organization.
Pathways features 10 paths instead of two educational tracks, which is why designations like CC and CL will not be part of the new program. Pathways features a completely new set of achievement designations.
6. How will Pathways change my club experience?
Pathways was designed to keep club meetings at the center of your Toastmasters experience. The biggest changes you'll experience are the new opportunities to grow more skills and master additional competencies. You can still expect the same support from your fellow club members and the familiar structure of your club meetings.
7. How many paths are there?
- Motivational Strategies
- Presentation Mastery
- Leadership Development
- Innovative Planning
- Visionary Communication
- Strategic Relationships
- Dynamic Leadership
- Persuasive Influence
- Effective Coaching
- Team Collaboration
8. Are there different levels in each path?
Yes. Each path is made up of five levels of increasing complexity. The program is designed this way so you're always building on what you learned in the previous level. All learning paths contain the following levels:
- Level 1: Mastering Fundamentals
- Level 2: Learning Your Style
- Level 3: Increasing Knowledge
- Level 4: Building Skills
- Level 5: Demonstrating Expertise
9. How many projects are in a path?
Every path has required and elective projects. Path recognition is achieved when a member completes 14 projects across all 5 levels—a combination of 10 required projects and 4 elective projects chosen from a comprehensive list covering a variety of subjects. Each project includes at least one speech. Though members are required to complete 4 elective projects, they have the option to complete as many as they would like.
10. Is Pathways only available online?
Pathways gives you the flexibility to learn online or in print. Using Base Camp—Pathways’ online learning management system—you’ll have access to engaging learning tools, including videos, interactive quizzes and activities, feedback and recognition, useful tips and more. Choose from 10 unique learning paths that are accessible online. If you prefer to work in print, select paths are available in full-color, professionally bound materials.
11. What is Base Camp?
Base Camp is your online gateway to Pathways, where you will find everything you need on your journey. Here you can work on projects, track your progress, connect with members of your club and view badges and certificates you’ll earn along the way. Base Camp also features resources to help guide you, including videos, quizzes, interactive activities and more.
12. Is Base Camp easy to use?
Yes! Base Camp is very user-friendly. The Pathways team conducted tests with users of all types to ensure Base Camp is easy to use and intuitive for everyone.
13. How will I know which path is right for me?
If you choose to access Pathways using Base Camp, you will take an online assessment of your skills, interests and goals. Once you’re finished, the assessment will recommend the three paths that best match your responses. If you don't want to work in a recommended path, you may select whichever path you prefer.
14. What does my computer system require to run Base Camp?
To ensure faster download speeds, the minimum requirements for your system are as follows:
- 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
- Pop-up blocker disabled
Base Camp is compatible with the following 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
- Opera Version 11 or higher
Note: If your system does not meet the minimum requirements, you may experience longer download times.
15. Why do I need to disable my pop-blockers on Base Camp and how do I do so?
It is common configuration for learning management systems and other websites to open additional content in new windows. Often, these new windows are recognized as pop-ups by your web browser. Because projects, tutorials, and resources on Base Camp all open in new windows, your pop-up blockers must be turned off so your browser does not prevent you from accessing them.
For instructions on how to disable your pop-up blockers, find your browser name in the list below and click on the corresponding link:
- Mozilla Manage preferences and add-ons
- Chrome Support
- Windows Internet Explorer 11 change security privacy settings
- Block pop-ups in Microsoft Edge
- Apple Safari Support
16. Who are Base Camp managers, and what is their role?
For most clubs, the vice president education (VPE) will assume the role of Base Camp manager. The Base Camp manager helps facilitate your progress by verifying your education, approving requests and more. In the event a VPE isn’t able to perform these duties, or if a club does not have a VPE, the Base Camp manager responsibilities will be fulfilled by the club president or club secretary. The central responsibilities of the Base Camp manager include:
- Approving speeches outside the club
- Verifying level completion
- Tracking member progress
- Verifying project completion for members using printed materials
21. How long will it take me to load projects in Base Camp?
Internet speeds vary depending on your internet service provider and the country you live in. Some projects in Base Camp take longer to load than others, depending on the size (for example, the projects with videos will take longer than those that do not).
You may experience longer load times if your system does not meet the minimum requirements. To ensure faster downloads, your system should have at least 5 megabits per second in terms of network and connectivity speed. The recommended speed is 8 megabits per second.
Achievement & Recognition
17. How will I receive recognition in Pathways?
In Pathways, your achievements are acknowledged frequently because recognition increases motivation. You’ll earn digital badges and certificates as you progress through a path. When you complete your path(s), you receive the accolade of Proficient, signifying your demonstrated expertise. You can complete the Pathways Mentor Program and earn a credential. Those looking for more to achieve can explore the Distinguished Toastmaster award (DTM) and the Distinguished Club Program (DCP). Visit the Achievement + Awards page for more information.
18. Will the Distinguished Toastmaster award (DTM) still exist in Pathways? If so, are the requirements different for earning the DTM in Pathways?
Yes, you can still earn the DTM award in Pathways, and it will still represent the highest level of educational achievement in Toastmasters.
The new requirements for the DTM award will be:
- 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 project. (Members are required to create and implement a project of their own design, in which they demonstrate the skills and expertise they have gained.)
19. How will the Distinguished Club Program (DCP) change in Pathways?
Just like the current program, Pathways features 10 DCP goals (six educational goals and four non-educational goals). While the six educational goals in Pathways are different from the six goals in the current DCP, they do function similarly.
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. Your club can choose to satisfy the six educational goals using the Pathways criteria, the current criteria or a mix of goals from both programs.
There will be a two-year transition period beginning when Pathways rolls out in the final region. During that time, the current DCP format will run simultaneously with the Pathways DCP format. You will have plenty of time before your club has to formally adopt the Pathways DCP criteria. Read this article for more information on the DCP in Pathways.
Fees & Costs
20. What are the costs associated with Pathways?
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. Remember: 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.
Do I still have to pay a new member fee now that there are no Competent Communication (CC) or Competent Leadership (CL) manuals in Pathways?
Yes. Although new members will not receive a physical kit when they begin in Pathways, the new member fee covers membership processing costs, your first path, and access to Base Camp and its resources.
If I choose an online path, which means my learning materials are all digital, why do I still need to pay for Pathways if I’m not receiving manuals and other printed materials?
While it’s true that members who choose a path on Base Camp will not receive physical manuals or materials, Pathways gives you access to a richer learning experience, featuring 10 paths to choose from, over 300 real-world skills to learn and in-depth training resources to help you every step of the way. In addition, there are still costs associated with maintaining the Pathways learning experience, including software licensing, support and ongoing educational development.
I pay dues twice a year. Why don't I receive a new path every time I pay dues?
Dues cover your ongoing membership as well as services provided to you, your club and your district. In Pathways, each new member receives one free path, just like you received a Competent Communication (CC) and Competent Leadership (CL) manual without any additional costs when you joined the traditional education program. Additional paths must be purchased individually in Pathways, similar to the traditional education program, which requires you to pay for additional manuals beyond the CC and the CL.
When I purchase an additional print path, do I need to pay the materials fee again? And do I also have to pay a shipping fee for each path?
Each time you purchase a print path, you pay a materials fee. This fee covers the cost of your materials and shipping. Shipping cost is included in the materials fee.
22. How many free paths do I get?
You are eligible for a maximum of two free paths if you belong to more than one club. To qualify for a second free path, you must already be a member of multiple clubs when Pathways rolls out in your region. Joining additional clubs after Pathways is available to you will not qualify you for a second free path. This policy will be in effect until the end of the two-year transition period, beginning after Pathways rolls out in the last region.
23. What is the Pathways return policy?
The Pathways Return Policy is as follows:
1. There are no refunds on educational materials or customized items (e.g., engraved items, certificates). All other items may be returned for a refund as long as the member contacts Toastmasters International within 30 days of receipt of the item; after 30 days no refunds can be initiated. Returned items must be in like-new condition.
2. Educational materials and all other non-customized items can be exchanged as long as the member contacts Toastmasters International within 30 days of receipt of the item. Exchanges of paths in the Pathways learning experience are limited to one path per member, per program year. After 30 days no exchanges can be initiated.
3. The new item for an exchange must be selected at the time the exchange is made; members are not given a “credit” to select a new item at a later time.
4. Any time an item is being returned or exchanged, including when it is exchanged due to damage or a shipping error, Toastmasters International reserves the right to require that the original item be returned to Toastmasters International and/or require a photo of the damage. When a damaged item must be sent back to Toastmasters International, the replacement item, if applicable, will be sent after the returned item is received at World Headquarters.
5. For exchanges due to item(s) being incorrect or damaged when the member receives them, the item(s) will be replaced at no cost to the member. Depending on the member’s location, Toastmasters International may provide a return label for the member to use or reimbursement to the member after he/she incurs the expense.
6. When items are returned to Toastmasters International for a return or exchange that is not due to a shipping error or damage, the member will pay:
- The cost of shipping the original item back to World Headquarters, in all cases.
- The cost of shipping the new item to the member, in the case of an exchange.
7. The 25 fee that members pay when ordering a path in print is not refundable, even when the member is exchanging a print path for an online path. (This applies to Pathways materials only.)
8. When an online path is added to a member’s Base Camp transcript as part of an exchange, the member will receive completion credit in the transcript for any Level 1 projects that were already complete in the path the member is returning. (This applies to Pathways materials only.)
9. Educational materials belong to the person for whom they were ordered; they are not transferable between or among members.
24.Does Pathways offer accessible educational materials for sight-impaired individuals?
Pathways materials are not yet available in an accessible format; however, a solution is in development.
25.Can I use a Toastmasters gift certificate to purchase a path?
Toastmasters International gift certificates are only for Toastmasters-branded merchandise. Pathways educational materials are not available for purchase using a gift certificate.
26. How will Gavel Clubs work in Pathways?
Gavel Clubs haven't been integrated into Pathways yet; however, a solution is in development.