Education is no longer confined to its traditional brick & mortar classrooms. Everyday new experiments are being made to leverage digital technologies in education; be it in distribution, in collaborations or in assessment & evaluations. In terms of developing tech-enabled adaptive content and innovative ways of collaborations, digital technologies are doing wonders. MOOC or Massively Open Online Courses are one of the biggest gifts to humankind. Now almost all globally recognized universities and institutes are offering MOOCs; majority of these courses are available at zero or negligible costs making knowledge immensely accessible. Education is becoming lot more democratized and decentralized. For evaluation and assessment also digital technologies are being used like never before. However, one big area of concern is quality, trusts, uniformity and proof learning. After all learning is not enough; one needs to submit proof of learning if planning to use that education or training formally.
Certification, proof of learning and digitized education
Be it corporate hiring or school, college and university admission, qualification faking is a common fraudulent practice. Good amount of resources are invested to keep check on these attempts and ensure fare practices. Such frauds cause mutual mistrusts and also cause reputation damage to emerging decentralized informal qualifications.
Block chains as a solution
As a distributed data network block chains are by design resistant to frauds and data fudging. It can potentially secure academic and professional certification processes and resolve the trusts and accountability issue. Block chain based applications can be implemented in private as well as public domain. That means such applications can be internal to institutional networks as well as external for usage by individuals and outside organizations.
Scope of such applications
Continuous professional development – lifelong learning is the keyword in 21st century; and to cope with ever changing industries continuous professional development is the only solutions. However, tracking CPD is a real problem due to fragmented nature of related data and delivery of CPD courses. Block chain based courses and evaluation system can make CPD much for useful from career development perspective.
Apprenticeship – new institutions are coming in vocational space those are giving project based vocational training. Standardization and reliable assessment data is a key issue, especially when some countries are trying to build national skill database. Block chain can be of use in such situations offering distributed data structure based application within an otherwise centralized structure.
Block chain based badges – block chain-based application can be developed for offering open badges to individual as readily sharable credentials. Such badges would not only authenticate certifications and qualifications but also include validated experience certificates from previous employers.
Informal classrooms in schools – students hardly prefer classrooms and lecture-based teaching methodology. Block chain based application will be able to track students’ engagement and performance at every possible touch point. That would make open classrooms a reality and reliable at the same time.
However, these are just few possibilities. Truly there are endless scopes of applying block chains in education and make digital transformation completely effective in the field.