Blockchain in HE: Paradigm Challenges (3)

Tapscott and Tapscott (2017) remind us that blockchain enables trust without reliance on intermediaries. The Internet of Things (“IoT”) will require a Ledger of Everything, i.e. blockchain. Virtually everything of value to society (birth certificates, educational records, social security details, finance arrangements, and business contracts) can be safely stored, shared, and updated via the blockchain.

HE possibilities include the transfer and verification of credits and credentials, the minimisation of related administration costs and time, and deep analysis of the data stored on the blockchain.

In terms of pedagogy, the traditional format of HE can be likened to a broadcaster: teaching is one-to-many. This may no longer be appropriate for the digital age, despite developments toward less didactic pedagogical methods. The requirements of the current age are highly specific, and the market is too large to be effectively served by the physical model alone. HE providers must attend to the requirements of the education seeker, particularly as funding models shift from the public to the very competitive private arena, where HE is under threat from analytics-savvy, pureplay, for-profit providers.

Concepts to be alert to in the coming years regarding education technology are agility, openness, and consensus. Particular knowledge combinations are becoming valuable, so HE must permit learners to tailor their purchases. The self-paced, adaptive, machine-tailored programmes of intelligent learning environments and the administrative economies enabled by blockchain should allow HE to concentrate on debate, project collaboration, and discussion, i.e. its less digitally-imitable strengths.

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