Leveling the Playing Field With Internet Connectivity Plus…

Not so long ago all learning was delivered offline. Nowadays it is a given that students will have an internet connection and will be able to access their content at all times. Learning Management Systems were designed as SaaS to always be online or at least linked to a central database. They were designed to track learning activities that occur in the LMS, and lack the capability to record informal or social learning actions.

An offline player, in the context of elearning, is a program which allows learners to download elearning content when they are connected to the internet, then complete the training later when disconnected. The benefits of this, for students as well as for a multilingual distributed workforce that may have poor access to the internet, can be great.

The way we learn new skills is changing as technology develops. With the spread of the internet increasing each year, the number of students that have access to online learning material also increases. This gives more students and employers that want to upskill employees the advantage of online as well as offline training.

Scalable Education System

There are different standards of education in different countries, and the one thing that will level the playing field is internet connectivity. As more countries come online it creates the foundation for the education system needed to reach learners around the world via the internet.

There were approximately 3.8 billion Internet users in 2017 (51 percent of the world’s population of 7 billion), up from around 2 billion users in 2015, according to several sources.

Now, in 2019, there are more than 4 billion people online.

The challenge we have as educators is laying the correct foundation for an infinitely scalable education system. If we are able to achieve this it will reduce the cost of education (online degrees can be up to 80 times less expensive than traditional degrees), and has the potential, with blockchain and a tokenized system, to reduce costs to zero, and even allow students to earn as they learn.

There is an argument that traditional learning (offline) is better because it is the only way to maintain a coherent learning process. Students seem to prefer the online learning model, demonstrated by the huge annual increases in online learning.

What if employers would pay people to learn the skills and acquire the knowledge they need? I’m not talking about simply sponsoring a students education. The opportunity is to pay students to learn. Learning can be their full-time job, with a stipend covering their living expenses.

Traditionally a student would obtain unskilled work to substitute their living expenses while they learn. These jobs are usually not the best paying and take up lots of time.

What I am proposing is an education skills platform for digital skills, similar to a freelancer website that will connect employers with students who are ready to learn the skills the employer needs.

It would incorporate an English language element with a tutor, ensuring the student is “industry ready” by the time they graduate.

The major deterrent to this proposal would be the management of the contract with learners. Think about using the blockchain to be the mediator. Here’s how it goes:

  • The employer and student agree to the terms and conditions of the “employment loan” and it is recorded by a smart contract on the blockchain.
  • This “debt” is repayable by “work” (a predetermined amount of hours, weeks or months)
  • The students’ progress will be verified by the educator with progress reports, ensuring the student is qualified to start work once the course is complete.
  • The student’s and employers identities are linked to the qualification and the work, so that the employer is assured the student will complete the work agreed on.
  • On completion of the contract both parties review each other, and the contract is finalized, with both parties achieving what they set out to.

This creates a scenario where students are incentivized to work hard and are guaranteed employment once their studies are complete. It ticks all the boxes. Think with me along these lines and comment on what you think.

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