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Core Competencies - A solution for academia and production

The use of standards serves to free educational and training organizations from unnecessary duplication of effort in curriculum development, makes them accountable for quality of instruction and learning, and frees them to concentrate on the development of story, art direction, character performance, cultural and personal expression and the ability to create globally competitive content

My frustrations with traditional institutional methods have been born out of over 40 years of working in colleges and universities around the world.  I have known some where at the senior level there has been vision, adventure, risk-taking and entrepreneurial creativity.  I have come across many others, by far the majority, where traditional and formal structures have held back progress and where hierarchy prevents innovation and the development of truly progressive earning environments.

For several years, a number of colleagues and I have been developing and using animation core competencies as a framework for program design, curriculum development, and in classroom teaching and evaluation.

This work originated as a apart of the design and development of training program’s for an independent animation training institute in Beijing called he Institute for Digital Design. I’ll cover more about that experience in a later post.

Subsequently, the early work was reported at fmx 2008 as part of Autodesk’s Education Summit and as a Panel Session at the first SIGGRAPH ASIA in Singapore in December 2008. Since then I have been developing the background materials independently

A critical challenge facing recruitment for the animation industry across the world is the lack of meaningful certification or code of practice for graduate and career performance standards.

Companies must rely on a labor intensive and time consuming process of sorting, grading and evaluating job applicants for a wide variety of tasks and levels of expertise.

The disparate and uneven quality of graduate work, diplomas and certificates across (and also within) education and training institutions, means that academic certification is often an unreliable indicator of graduate performance and is of somewhat limited value to potential employers.

Globally, recruiters rely primarily on applicant show reels and/or portfolios. However evaluation is frustrating, time-consuming and heavily labor and expertise intensive. Portfolios themselves suffer from another set of limitations, due to possible fraud, inability to separate individual and group work, as well as inappropriate, poorly conceived and often irrelevant content.

       Companies need a valid, reliable, unbiased and efficient screening method by which to evaluate the performance standards of job applicants.

 •     Educational and training institutes should be able to guarantee that graduate skills meet predictable, industry-accepted standards of performance to employers and to their graduates.

The answer to this situation is the development and implementation of a set of core competency standards designed to specify and master the critical knowledge and skills of graduates and job applicants and benchmarked against the highest international standards.

These standards can then be used to certify animation graduate performance in public and private educational institutions, to create coherence among curriculum, assessment and pedagogy and as a basis for the design of programs, curricula and training methods. 

Standards that are recognized throughout the country or abroad serve as the basis for assessment and formal qualifications and they enable commercial production companies to select and recruit applicants that have proven expertise, talent and skills from a global pool of candidates.

The result would be to raise the national quality of training, greater professional mobility and enhanced global competitiveness.

The use of standards serves to free educational and training organizations from unnecessary duplication of effort in curriculum development, makes them accountable for quality of instruction and learning, and frees them to concentrate on the development of story, art direction, character performance, cultural and personal expression and the ability to create globally competitive content.

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