The virtual space has inarguably taken the education sector by storm, despite the ambivalence over the accreditation of eLearning courses, hacks to the online database, or the concern of disrupting the system.
The surge of technology and the online user
The technology that we currently have access to was unfathomable only a few decades ago.
Computers, which once took up entire rooms, are now handheld. Which means, gaining access to WiFi (Wireless Internet) is as easy as breathing air. And on the 21st, almost everyone has access to the Internet.
As the population continues to expand, the number of internet users rises in tandem. Children as young as two are capable of operating a mobile wireless device, with the discretion of their guardians, and they will continue to use technology throughout their entire life.
The willingness to share information is incredible! This is good news, especially since the demand for knowledge is so high. And this recent thirst for knowledge is creating an even greater demand for credible sources and accessible information libraries.
Therefore, distributing information online gives an entirely new demographic an equal opportunity to obtain an education from qualified experts.
Connecting to the internet
To facilitate the growing demand for online education platforms, universities have relocated their resources and operations online. Admission procedures are now automated, digital libraries are currently in full swing, and even assignments and tests can be administered, graded, and published, all in the same day.
But we still have a long way to go if we are to make the most of online education.
Centralized education and the failure to meet student expectations
Formal education, under the supervision of centralized authorities, has been and continues to provide old hat techniques that are proven to be inefficient and inadequate in relation to today’s students.
Time & Money
To begin, a hefty sum of time and money is usually spent on institutionalized education that is attended in-person.
In the era where time is money, it becomes difficult for the average individual to attend a full class schedule and support their lifestyle while paying their tuition.
Many agree that a condensed explanatory video is easier to comprehend than the conventional 2-hour lecture-style presentation. Shorter, bite-sized courses, are proven to help students retain information. Providing access to course content at any time while allowing students to create schedules that work around their individual lifestyle helps to decrease stress and increase participation.
Accreditation and Administration
Students don’t hold the same admiration for classes that are attended in-person as the previous generations once did, especially since most have become enthralled by the capabilities of the Internet. It is easier now more than ever to acquire an education through an accredited online program that teaches the same information as standardized universities.
When discussing universities, supremacy and standards are often brought up. Since the decision making power is vested to the board of the institution, many are playing an unfair game that mistreats those who apply and attend.
The current infrastructure doesn’t hold authorities accountable for their actions and have unjust ways to refute injustice. Many universities, including those in charge, disregard transparent assessment and evaluation practices, leaving all decisions to be made by the educator and/or administrators, with little to no consideration for the student.
One of the major questions to arise when distributing information online is security. The centralized servers that most educational platforms host and contain classified data, including student records and personal information. This opens the door for hackers to breach the database through a single entry point.
Such data should be stored on a network that prevents interference through a variety of security measures.
Blockchain and the decentralization of education
Blockchain technology has the potential to disrupt, decentralize, and safeguard education.
The concept of decentralizing education is to prevent inadmissible influence, biased judgment, and the corruption of information. Meaning that no central authority or institution is solely in power, thus creating a transparent, distributed, and unified network to store records, develop classes, share information, distribute certifications, etc.
Its acceptance and widespread usage will increase the overall security through the dispersion of the digital ledger, which contains all information stored on the network. While each node (computer) in the network holds the entire ledger, they can only access their own data, protecting the network and preventing attacks.
Let's take a look at how blockchain can provide a leg up and solve the current shortcomings.
1. Addressing privacy concerns
Blockchain technology ensures that the data exchanged between intended parties is secure, transparent, verifiable, and indelible.
Transcripts, student records, and certificates are cryptographically secure and individually owned. Information is time-stamped and assigned a hash to provide documentation that corresponds to a single user, disabling third parties from accessing or tampering with the chain.
2. Aids cutbacks in expenditure
Traditionally, educational records are stored in a cloud-based system and are not transparent.
As blockchain technology is applied, all data will be transferred from costly centralized servers to numerous computers on a network. Since the records will be accessible from any computer within the network, the heavy storage costs that institutions bear under the current system will be reduced proportionally.
Processing and verifying records and certificates also demands a large sum of time and money. Blockchains can reverse the standard by automating procedures, while ruling out the possibility of forgery. This in part with lowering the need for physical documents and records with paperless transactions.
3. Fair assessment is ensured
Both qualitative and quantitative data can be added to the blockchain. For instance, the name of the course, student information, verified course content, student statistics, and grades can all be documented on the blockchain.
Student involvement, activities, and behaviors can also be tracked and rewarded through automated and transparent techniques. This would expedite the transfer of accredited information amongst institutions, students, employers, and employees, but only with approval from the owner of said data.
Reinvigorating Education Through Peerion
Peerion intends to take education to the next level by offering an interactive learning experience for everyone to enjoy. The fusion of blockchain and gamification will incentivize peers to create and master high-quality blockchain-certified courses, use newfound skills to accomplish their goals, and successfully rise to the challenge of self-discovery through entrepreneurship.
Peerion’s gamified features will enhance the educational experience, giving the user complete control of their journey.
Teachers can register on Peerion to become a verified guide (educator), where they will begin creating content and educating their peers. They will also have the ability to host virtual classes, webinars, private lessons, and training sessions.
Peers (community members), once registered for Peerion, will have access to the Greenhouse. The Greenhouse is an incubator for knowledge and growth, where each peer can hone in on their passions and grow their skills in a virtual environment.
Courses are presented through text, video, audio, and virtually through Peerion’s VR Classroom.
This will create a meaningfully enjoyable learning experience that facilitates the growth of all parties involved. Peers will have the power to control their journey by educating/participating in courses, verifying their skills, petitioning for new courses, cooperating with fellow peers, conducting surveys, resolving doubts judiciously, and presenting their research to the community.
Ultimately offering an all-around education experience for peers to begin their journey as a student and grow into a certified educator or entrepreneur.
When educators and students are no longer stressed, they are able to flourish with a freedom that allows their passion to shine through their work.
ELearning is presenting new opportunities for the people of the world to be equal and progress the educational system together. The more data that is stored and approved through transparent networks, the more informative information the future generations will have access to.
In the long run, the goal of decentralized education is to enhance the experience of the end-user, ultimately bringing down the cost of learning while improving the quality of education that is accessible to everyone.