Challenges of the status quo

Limitations in web2 applications used in blended learning

We have been researching and teaching blockchain technology for years and have combined this with university and online learning. We discovered that blockchains act as ledgers for the internet. They empower Web 3.0, and you can use them to improve education. We thought this was much needed because we encountered many different challenges in education. By using these new technological advancements, we aim to improve education.
We already saw this happening with the current internet and universities. Both worlds are improving and adapting to each other, with the Corona pandemic and increasing digitalization fast-forwarding this process. However, we discovered that even if we could find the perfect blend of these worlds, many fundamental challenges would remain due to the limited design of the current internet. And that these challenges could even worsen if we don't act.
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Luckily, we could act via trials and experiments in higher education. We found that blockchain-based tools add new properties to the learning mix. For example, they enable users to receive or send value like cryptocurrencies, micro-certificates, liquid property rights, voting power & governance rights, data ownership, and so much more. In addition, they empower individuals and entities and support the creation of self-sustainable ecosystems. But the best part is, they do so without controlling parties. At this moment, we are witnessing the first wave of new applications empowering the users and ecosystem instead of MegaCorp, radically disrupting and improving entire industries.
β€ŒWe expect these new applications to disrupt the education industry as well. Web2 applications like Coursera, Udemy, and YouTube already started, but they are limited in design. For example, because they empower commercial MegaCorps by subtracting value from individuals and learning communities. Web3 applications flip this model and remove the intermediary controlling party, creating peer-to-peer value sharing networks.

Examples of (smaller) challenges

We are very well aware that it is all early phases and that we don't know much yet in the full scale of things. But this lack of knowledge is why we keep on trying and do so in an open-source fashion. So allow us to explain why we are so highly motivated to face the challenges and improve learning for all. Let's start with some of the 'small' challenges we faced and then move towards the end boss after that:
  1. 1.
    Knowledge gaps between universities and the working field are growing. As a result, universities have difficulty keeping up and remaining relevant with fast-moving (digital) topics such as machine learning, blockchain technology, robotics, etc.
  2. 2.
    Increasing study expenses versus (nearly) free online learning
  3. 3.
    There is a lack of motivation to learn new digital skills (low retention rates)
  4. 4.
    There is a lack of motivation to share high-quality information
  5. 5.
    Fake diplomas, or diplomas without decent validation/reputation
  6. 6.
    Limitations for non-students to enter validated curricula
  7. 7.
    Quality of education differs vastly per region
  8. 8.
    There is limited freedom of choice & flexibility for students versus information overkill in the online realm. Neither are good.
  9. 9.
    Universities are focused on learning, not creating software

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β€ŒOur big challenge

However, if academic and internet learning ideally mixes, they could theoretically solve these challenges. But universities work in fragmented environments, and the incentives to do so are not there. Thus, entering the long-term challenge we all face: MegaCorps with a commercial incentive enters the realm. As a result, they are highly motivated to solve these challenges, empower themselves, and not create self-sustainable learning communities that empower users.
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Last modified 1mo ago