Validation Session with New Media Manitoba in Winnipeg

Day 4 – Winnipeg, Manitoba


We were the guests of New Media Manitoba on Friday, in their bright and spacious Winnipeg Board Room at 1000 Waverley.


What felt good for us, at this the 4th time through the chart validation, was that the same changes keep coming up. It means we are on the road to consensus. It augurs well for the final chart.


We had a good discussion on the next steps of the project – turning the lists of competencies into courses certified by industry and delivered through education institutions. To be sure, there was skepticism: how realistic is partnership with academia which is so steeped in its own processes and hierarchies?


The concerns are fair, but our early conversations with a few innovative institutions of higher learning have identified potential partners with more flexibility than we usually encounter. They have led us to believe that our partnership model has a chance of success.


Another means of delivering and disseminating courses created from the competencies is through industry associations. For example, New Media Manitoba.


It’s a good model especially if we tie the certificate to a “practicum” in a DM company. New Media Manitoba already has training built into its mandate. It would be a natural to pilot course delivery and industry certification through its own members.


Concern was also expressed around keeping the courses up-to-date. That’s a challenge. An ongoing CHRC industry steering committee is certainly a way to identify necessary changes. A licencing revenue stream through training providers could help to finance the up-dates…


Finally, there was interest in the potential for an online interactive version of the chart which could, for example, allow students to identify their own skills gaps and tailor their own competency profiles and training plans. That is an idea that is gaining momentum.


It’s been a good week for the DM Team chart. It’s clearly on the right track, with well identified revisions. In the validation sessions to come (in Charlottetown November 1, Montreal November 2, St. John’s November 8, and TO November 9) we’ll continue to test drive it – and to explore its potential uses as we prepare to take it to the next level of “training tools”.


Validation Session with Software Developers, Gamers and Academics in Saskatoon

Day 3 – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


Saskatoon was our biggest group so far (including 2 participants who drove in from Regina). A mix of software developers, gamers and academics – rigorous, with close attention to detail and process. They suggested good additions and changes to the chart, though grosso modo they agreed with its contents.


The computer science background of several of the participants slanted a lot of the discussion towards developers, a perspective that CHRC has been eager to capture. This was reflected in additional skills such as “conduct end user verifications or tests”; and “develop testing environment”.


One educator expressed frustration at the large gap between computer science programmes and creative arts programmes in universities. This is exactly what CHRC wants to address. How to ensure that students in the visual arts and writing, for example, have the technical skills they need to go into the DM industry? How to open the thinking of computer science coders and programmers so they can partake in a creative way on a DM team?


Some of the most dynamic discussion turned around the “Go to Market” series of competencies as participants underlined the importance of marketing skills – and how they are often lacking in a DM team.


There was also creative discussion on how the chart can be used and kept current. The point was well-taken that a competency chart for the DM industry shouldn’t be a print document  - witness the fact that several around the room were reading off their electronic versions of the chart – not the nicely coloured print versions we had carefully photocopied and stapled – old technology!


It got us thinking about how to disseminate the chart – and led us to imagine an interactive version to allow users to tailor it to their needs (whether you’re an employer, a worker, a trainer or a student). It’s a possibility we’re exploring along with a wiki-type gathering and exchanging of information and ideas on training needs and offerings.


Could be a very good way to keep the chart updated and useful, and let trainers know the immediate needs of industry.


This project keeps getting better…..