Education and the way it has been passed down via generations, saw a tremendous amount of changes, catering to the evolving lives. With so much of research going on, newer prospects, newer studies are coming along. Thus, advancements in education with digitalization. Thanks to the pandemic, online studying became mainstream and got the highlight among all other digital aspects on the plain. However, with so much information all around, it also became easier to commit fraud. Remember the movie 3 idiots? Had blockchain been a part of the education system, Rancho could have never been able to complete his studies via Phungsung Wangdu.
In this cumulative content, let us dive into the benefits of blockchain in education sector and the future of blockchain in education.
Why do we need Blockchain in Education?
Today we stand at the nascent stage for the usage of blockchain in education, with few institutions ready to invest heavily in the technology. However, the potential benefits are convincing for a resource-constrained industry concerned about competition from nontraditional players. As a result, educational institutions are working to better understand the technology and are conducting pilot projects to target the best use cases and most likely benefits. Once the industry begins to move, with more alliances being formed and standards being defined, adoption could be rapid. Blockchain platforms are characterized by a strong network effect, meaning that the value of the platform grows with each additional user and/or company participant. Educational providers should get involved now to be ready when blockchain reaches the mainstream.
The need of blockchain in education comes from the potential that it has. The benefits of blockchain in the education sector are yet to be explored properly. The Covid-19 was a good push to a wider forced adoption to online learning, however, some other ways in which Blockchain can be beneficial is:
- Storage of permanent records.
- Learner identity verification and information security.
- Student ownership of lifelong learning credentials.
- Automatic credit transfers.
- Intellectual property protection for educational content.
Read more: Blockchain in Healthcare Industry
However, the use cases of blockchain do not come without its set of advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages and disadvantages of Blockchain in Education
In the Field of University Research
Higher education has two goals: to pass on knowledge to future generations of students and to expand present knowledge through new research. A significant portion of the time goes into conducting original research and publishing their findings, pushing the frontiers of their fields and revealing study topics that will take us into the future. With blockchain, researchers would be able to publish without restrictions! It will be in a way that would allow them to track their research’s reuse, such as how often work is cited and used as teaching materials, allowing them to track its impact in the field, starting right from its funding; which is important because it can lead to accolades and future funding.
Studying hard and working without set hours are also a part of the fulfillment that the results and rewards give us. If blockchain is at play, rewarding becomes easier! Tracking the progress from the funding to the citations a particular project is garnering, to the distribution of the reward for everyone to see! Easy, efficient and motivation etched.
The immutable ledger technology of blockchain produces a chronological record of real-time events. What amazing result comes out of it is excellent for checking transcripts, displaying a complete report card, and keeping students up to date on their progress. When a student submits their assignment via blockchain, the project is safe and sound, without any possibility of it getting lost.
Smart Contracts and Accountability
With the usage on smart contracts, soon to be available for teachers and students, both parties can agree on the limitations of an assignment, as well as the due date and grading deadline. That clears out the dates and deliverables for the same. Thus, less confusion and smart contracts can also be potentially used for student loans.
Challenges to using blockchain in education
However, the potential benefits that blockchain brings onto the table, its adoption is still relatively limited in the field. Most of the reluctance in adopting blockchain technology may also be stemming from the challenges associated with implementing the technology includes:
Security: Though security is one of blockchain’s defining features, that doesn’t mean it is invulnerable. Because of the sensitivity of records like students’ educational records and academic credentials, institutions must be mindful of what data they store and how they choose to store it.
Scalability: Educational institutions possess a vast amount of data on their students and alumni, which can make scalability an issue for blockchain use. As the scope of data involved expands, the number of blocks required increases, which slows down the speed of transactions occurring on the blockchain, as each transaction requires peer-to-peer verification.
Adoption rate: Similar to other technologies before, blockchain only works when enough institutions and employers come to rely on it. For example, graduates only benefit from ownership of their credentials if the schools or companies they are applying to accept the validity of such records. However, with hundreds of schools already issuing and accepting blockchain credentials and a network of employment sites like Upwork and ZipRecruiter promoting their adoption, they may soon become the rule rather than the exception.
Cost: Although it can lead to savings in other areas, adopting and implementing any new technology can be quite costly. Costs related to computing power and changing existing infrastructure can add up.
Blockchain records are stored permanently, so documents such as degrees and course certificates can be secured and verified, regardless of whether or not a user has access to an institution’s record-keeping system. Blockchain is positioned to reinvent the education sector. It is vital for leading lights to begin now to understand and experiment with the technology, both individually and as part of a consortium. While few institutions are ready to invest heavily in blockchain, kicking off the discussion internally and with colleagues across academia will enable them to be prepared once opportunities emerge, with the scale and significance to deliver both game-changing business value and learning experiences.
Read more: How blockchain is used in Healthcare