For some time now, the interest in blockchain technology seems to be no longer relevant to the financial sector. Possible applications are now identified in all areas affected by a certain degree of technological innovation.
The education industry is increasingly willing to adopt digital solutions: this is why possible applications of the blockchain technology are being studied even in the e-learning world.
What is blockchain?
Before reviewing the benefits that the use of this technology can bring to e-learning softwares, it is useful to reaffirm what blockchain is.
The blockchain is a computer network made of nodes that manages a public ledger uniquely and securely. The blockchain is made up of a range of data and information, such as transactions, in an open and distributed manner, and doesn’t need central control. This technology is part of the Distributed Ledger technologies, which refer to those systems that rely on a public registry that can be read and modified by multiple nodes in a network.
In order to validate these changes, however, nodes must obtain consent, which can come from any node on the network. Being a set of technologies, the blockchain is structured as a chain of blocks containing the aforementioned transactions in which consent is distributed across all nodes of the network, each of whom must be verified by the system.
How does blockchain improve e-learning?
One of the biggest problems of distance learning (DL) is the average rate of learners completing courses. Indeed, only 5.5% of applicants who start an online course complete it and obtain the certification. The use of blockchain technology can significantly increase this rate by creating custom paths. Each student, in fact, has the opportunity to create their own portfolio of courses with the possibility to include their own interests and attitudes.
Blockchain technology will increase the credibility of training institutions
As is well known, the growing interest in the world of e-learning software and the increase in entirely online training courses has brought to the proliferation of false certifications, so to damaging the reputation of many training institutions. In this sense, the use of blockchain technology can ensure not only the veracity of certificates, but also the identity of the learner.
In the case of certifications, the blockchain system allows to maintain a list of issuers and recipients of each certificate, along with the signature of the document (hash) in a public database (the blockchain) that is identically stored on thousands of computers around the world. The digital certificates protected with the blockchain technology have significant advantages over “normal” digital certificates.
It is possible to detect 3 main advantages:
With the use of blockchain the allocation of credits or the issuance of a certificate is done using a chain where all the nodes are well known and where you can trace the origin of the institution that initiated the process. Transparency makes this technology “safer” and more verifiable.
Increased collaboration among learners
The blockchain allows a direct connection between tutor and student in terms of interaction and payments. Tutors will be classified by students on the basis of the quality of the materials provided. This will help students to select the right tutor from the available pool and will also motivate tutors to improve their quality to get students’ attention. It would work like YouTube: good videos, more views, more subscribers. From here we can expect that more and more e-learning software will take advantage of this technology.
To sum up
For some practitioners of the industry the blockchain technology, together with artificial intelligence, is set to become the solution to some problems that affect online training, such as those related to the veracity of degrees, the certification of training companies, the customization of training courses or the correct accreditation of skills.