What is VAST?

VAST stands for Versatile Arts Skills Tracker, which has a bit of a double meaning: "Versatile Arts" is the name of the studio where the system was developed, and also refers to the fact that this system can be applied not just to the aerial arts (its original domain) but to any physical art form or discipline that can be broken down into a set of skills.

In a nutshell, VAST is a framework with which studios and instructors can define a structured curriculum and then track their students' progress against that curriculum. VAST does not provide content; each organization can customize the system and its contents so that it represents their specific teaching practice.

The VAST data model is meant to be a flexible way to describe physical skills. It includes the following properties:

VAST screenshot

VAST provides easy import of skill data via spreadsheets saved to .CSV format. The hard work is defining your curriculum; after that, it's just a few clicks to generate reports based on any of the above criteria.

Once your curriculum is defined in VAST, the real value is the ability to track your students' progress. You may define your own custom set of color-coded mastery values to indicate how far along a student is in their ability to perform a skill. Students can be tracked individually or can be organized into groups to represent classes or shared private lessons. Notes can be associated with individuals or groups to record lesson plans, feedback, or things to watch for.

Finally, VAST supports the definition of skill sequences. Sequences can represent choreography, skill progressions, class graduation requirements, or simply the subset of skills a given student is focusing on at a given time. Sequences can be shared or personal, so students can also use them to record their own practice sequences, and can even generate a random sequence based on the skills they are marked down as having learned.

If that sounds good and you'd like a VAST account for your organization, you can create one here.

For more information, contact vast@versatilearts.net.