As blockchain permeates practically every industry and undeniably faces off education as one of those, it’s a question of time when students will be attending “smart”, blockchain-powered classrooms or train distantly with a high level of education quality.
And the sector is ready for changes. For you to evaluate the picture at a glance, the edtech market volume is currently estimated at $93.76 bn and continues growing. No wonder why the figures are so impressive already since virtual assistants, personalized learning, and other tools take their part in education at all levels.
Now, it’s time for blockchain; it may seem that the technology only begins taking its journey through the domain, but this is true only for individual cases. For the article, we collected potential and real-life blockchain applications in education so that you can see yourself how dramatically it can change the sector soon.
One of the ways how blockchain can change the game for education is through long-awaited improvements of record-keeping procedures, mostly shady so far.
Blockchain could automate verification and record-keeping of versatile education documents, like diplomas, certificates, or credentials, that currently require validators. Blockchain-powered smart contacts could do all the work with instant, self-triggered approval of documents once the predefined conditions are met.
The idea of instantiated verification of documents could evolve even further with automated accreditation of educational institutions, again, through the use of smart contracts. Auditors could specify standards of quality for each country when writing a smart contract, and it would verify an institution against compliance without outside intervention.
An Infographic “Blockchain Applications in Education”
Source: My Love for Learning
Combating Fraud in CVs and Diplomas
With proper implementation, blockchain could be used as a forgery-proof record of students’ credentials listing only reliable background info. In such an elegant way, educational institutions could save time on verifying credentials and minimize fraud, while students could enroll in universities without time-consuming legalistic red tape.
MIT is already making strides in this field with its recent pilot program. According to that program, graduating students could receive digital diplomas through Blockcerts Wallet, a blockchain-based app, in addition to the traditional paper format. With the app, they could share a forgery-proof digital version of their diplomas with employees when looking for a job. In this way, blockchain serves as a security tool and provides immediate proof of authenticity at the same time.
Another vivid example is Knowledge Media Institute (KMI), a blockchain-centric educational facility that works on improving certification standards along with promoting wider use of blockchain in education. Among its achievements is a blockchain-powered CV verification platform developed jointly with APPII.
As practice shows, blockchain’s immediacy and reliability are demanded, as educational facilities, like London’s University College, already use these when issuing certificates for its courses. Graduates receive a QR code that confirms their credentials and can add that code to their LinkedIn profiles.
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The Blockchain Institute is a multi-million dollar research program composed of more than 70 research projects focused on the potential applications for blockchain.
Blockchain-based Student Payments
Student payments in their current form are grueling, labor-, and time-consuming, and, obviously, costly processes, involving multiple parties, like financial institutions, scholarship-granting agencies, governments, universities, and others, to process a single payment. Yet, blockchain-based digital assets could make payment handling more direct and financially rationalized.
For instance, New York-based King’s College began accepting blockchain currencies as early as in 2014 when bitcoin was all the rage. In this way, students could pay for education services without fees and notable delays.
For its enormous capabilities, blockchain could be a whole infrastructure for universities rather than a separate tool and formulate a new business model. We can already see how that works in action; Woolf University is a university established in 2018. It differs in its underlying structure from other educational institutions — indeed, this is a world’s first blockchain-based university, a nonprofit organization running exclusively on-chain.
The platform introduces online courses based on smart contracts that back and automate agreements and payments between learners and educators. Due to that, students benefit from low tuition fees and credible service.
On the other hand, educators can now free themselves from many administrative obligations due to automation, secure faculty and student data against breaches thanks to blockchain’s cryptography, and reduce administrative overheads since smart contracts replace intermediaries.
Cost-effective Talent Management
Colleges and universities have to spend excessive amounts on training, but hefty sums can’t simplify the management of achievement records over a lifetime. Also, there’s a perceivable cybersecurity threat.
Here, blockchain could and should become a supporting infrastructure guaranteeing security and openness of talent management, a distributed system, a pool where students, educators, and employers could all meet.
Safer Transportation of Students
Besides the education process itself, blockchain could be considered to facilitate student transportation to schools and universities.
A specialized ride-sharing app that runs on a blockchain could become a reliable companion for students experiencing difficulties when getting to classes, especially for those who have physical disabilities. For them, carpools are urgent on congested roads with heavy traffic (normal for morning routine), ensuring their prompt and safe arrival.
More Questions to Answer, More Issues to Solve
Undoubtedly, blockchain will bring even more cases, more topics for consideration. The technology itself is not completely explored for now, and its hidden opportunities are meant to reveal even more cases. Yet we already see that blockchain’s potential is limitless, and universities and educational institutions keep researching it to find more ideas to grasp and implement.
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The application accessible through both computer and smartphone was released alongside a series of tutorial videos walking viewers through a blockchain simulation.