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.
- A webinar provides an opportunity for an interactive learning workshop with guest trainers from any part of the world.
- Blogs offer reflective learning opportunities for Toastmasters who wish to share their own learning or to read the learning of others.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
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
Prepare 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.
- 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.