The long-term aim is to realize a decentralized blockchain-based education infrastructure accessible to anyone in the world, operating under an open source license for the commons. The term for such an organization is a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO). Key benefits of choosing such an infrastructure are user-benefits like peer-to-peer connections, new forms of governance, more control over your own data and other important properties like neutral, secure, flexible and accessible.
But how does this look like? Those that come to learn will create an account which will be linked to an identity on the blockchain that the user itself fully owns. Once logged in on KOIOS, a learner will see a tailor-made, personalized environment showing everything from personal details to accomplishments. A social-network interface will give the learner access to educational material, other students, teachers, professionals and other participants in the network. The learner can for example choose who he/she interacts with, what education he/she will start and what data he/she is willing to share.
Those that wish to educate will find a similar environment. A personalized interface showing their skills, track-records, collaborations, documentation, papers, etc. For example teachers will be able to engage with learners, promote their lectures and increase their reach, improve their skills and knowledge, and connect on a peer-to-peer level on glocal scale.
The role of universities remains pretty similar though: they still remain to facilitate in the offline and blended learning process by for example offering the facilities, like locations and digital learning systems like Osiris and Blackboard. Or by offering the supporting services that are needed to accredit programs. This time though they will additionally have the opportunity to innovate and experiment in an open online environment, enabling the benefits like increased reach, improved flexibility and cooperation within learning communities that incorporate for example field experts. An open infrastructure will allow us for testing solutions to all of the previously mentioned challenges and because this can happen on a large (international) scale, costs of innovation and experimentation may prove to be lower and happen much faster than they currently are.
Gamification of education By using blockchain technology, KOIOS ensures that users control their own data and progress will immutably be stored on a secure ledger. Moreover, blockchain technology enables gamification of education and add for example game theory elements / mechanism design principles in the educational mix. It would become possible for learners and tutors to transact tokens and badges amongst each other in order to improve study behaviour respectively to build up a reputation. Thanks to the open environment, interoperable with other educational ecosystems in other regions and even other countries.
Shared ledger with regional spin-offs Important aspect of open public blockchain technology is that the data ownership remains with the user and that we build in an open source environment that enables local spin-offs. Others can defect from our route where and when desired, this way we won’t project our cultural and regional biases on others and will users have increased freedom of choice per region. Entities, like commercial parties or private investors, may invest by using shared income agreements in for example learners, teachers or course developments or can more quickly gain access to talent. Transparency and automatic compliance in advance throughout the ecosystem will also help learners display their achievements, potentially connecting them to employers more quickly and efficiently. We are confident that by creating a personalized environment on a secure ledger, a wide range of experiments can be initiated and many challenges educational institutes face may find a solution.
Validation experiments Because of the online nature of KOIOS, individuals from all over the world will have access to this environment. Low operational costs ensure a low financial barrier to entry and participants can communicate amongst each other easily in an online communication environment. By collaborating with other institutes, we can also ensure physical environments that enable physical learning activities, community gatherings and testing learners, which are needed for the crucial part of validating individual achievements. We aim to enable universities to reward learners with a certificate that is connected to their regional official accreditation processes that traditional institutes have, like a digital THUAS micro-certificate, plus digital personal validated badges that are provided by the local lecturers as well as non-validated badges that are automatically provided by the online tools and learning communities.
Such a combination of certification, with official micro-certificates and different types of validated and non-validated badges, allows for traditional institutes to experiment with online certification. On the other hand, an open online infrastructure like KOIOS can benefit from the credibility, experience and reputation that local universities have. Combining the best of both worlds.