Toastmasters’ Pathways Learning Experience Program: Building 21st-Century Skills

4 min read

| By Chitraa Sridharan |

The 21st-century workplace needs workers who are not just proficient with the core skills but who are also prepared to solve complex problems and adapt to changing environments using their 6C (Communication, Collaboration, Critical thinking, Creative innovation, Content, Confidence) skills.

In my previous blog post, I shared my learnings on how the education industry is adapting to an emerging approach called STEAM (a STEM curriculum integrated with Arts) to prepare today’s students for the 21st-century workplaces.

I continued to look around to see what other players are doing to bridge the gap between the skills people learn from traditional learning and the skills people actually need to thrive in the 21st-century workplaces.

Last November, the Toastmasters International organization rolled out their new Pathways Learning Experience program to Cengage Toastmasters corporate club. As a Toastmaster member, I got an opportunity to take a closer look at this program.

Here is what I learned:

For those who are not familiar, Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development with more than 352,000 members worldwide.

Leaders emerge from the Toastmasters program by regularly giving speeches, gaining feedbacks, leading teams, and guiding others to achieve their goals in a supportive atmosphere.

Pathways Learning Experience is Toastmasters’ new education program, providing a user-friendly customizable online learning experience to grow more skills and master new competencies in the areas of Communication and Leadership. It is comprised of 10 paths that teach more than 300 unique competencies that are relevant to an evolving global marketplace.

This program helps develop real-world, transferable skills in many different areas through pathways such as Dynamic Leadership, Strategic Relationships, Visionary Communication, and much more.

Here is a snapshot of what a “Dynamic Leadership” path looks like. View a full list of paths and competencies.

As you can see in the snapshot above, the projects in the pathways are relevant to the skill sets needed to survive in the 21st-century.

There are multiple ways members can practice their skills. For instance, if a project focuses on public speaking skill, a speech can be delivered in various forums.

Members can use monthly club meetings, Speech-a-thons or any other community gatherings to exercise their formal speaking skills; delivering a speech at work can count for a speech too, as long as another Toastmaster is present to evaluate.

The same applies for demonstrating leadership skills. The member can take on different leadership roles in the monthly club meetings. Members can also take leadership roles outside their local club or work for projects such as “Leading in your volunteering organization” or “moderate a panel discussion” as long as they are evaluated by a Toastmaster.

In addition to developing traditional Communication and Leadership skills, the Toastmasters Pathways program offers opportunities to develop a variety of digital media skills such as creating podcasts, building a social media presence, writing a compelling blog etc., which are relevant to today’s digital world.

The program recognizes the progress of members by awarding digital badges and certificates for every milestone they reach and notifies Pathways managers of their achievements as well.

I am very excited about the launch of this program and I am looking forward to refining and developing my skills through this experience.

Have you tried the Pathways? If not, please give it a try and share your experiences.

I intend to watch the emerging industry and continue to share my learnings in upcoming posts. Stay tuned!

About the Author

Chitraa Sridharan is an IT Delivery Lead, GPT (Global Product Technology) at Gale, overseeing the delivery aspects of Technology solutions and services that provides the libraries with the modern research tools that are crucial in connecting libraries to learning and learners to libraries.

She serves as an executive committee member for the Cengage corporate Toastmasters’ club and enjoys being an active Toastmaster.

She believes that Knowledge is power, and the act of learning is empowering.

She finds joy in following the emerging industry trends, influencers, various players and connecting the dots.


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