Blockchain Education Credentials

A new project, otlw,  is trying to address one of the fundamental issues in our current education system: assessment and accreditation.  In simpler terms, how can we prove that a student has a particular skill and then communicate that to the relevant parties?  The current system of standardized tests and degrees from the educational institutions themselves comes with a number of problems.

One problem is when the institutions charged with educating the students are also charged with accrediting them, we have a conflict of interest.  The institutions are incentivized to teach for a standardized test, and if they make their own tests for assessments, to mold their tests to fit their teaching. A consequence of this is that it becomes too expensive to cater to the individual needs of the students.  To accommodate students individual learning styles or take a deeper dive into various topics is not economically viable if it does not align with the standardized test, or whatever is used as the assessment ‘test’.

otlw wants to use the Ethereum blockchain to create an accreditation reputation system.  By separating education and accreditation, students will be able to learn how they see fit instead of being forced down one particular standardized educational track.  For example, imaging being able to learn front end web development from any number of free courses available on YouTube, and getting good enough to become accredited through otlw, and then use that accreditation to get a web dev job.  It’s sort of a half-way step back to the old apprentice system of old, where reputation is codified in the blockchain.

The way it works is that individuals when someone wants to be assessed, a number of people who have already been accredited as knowledgable on a subject will be selected to perform an assessment. There will be a special Ethereum token used by the system to hold value. The assessors will be rewarded in tokens for giving the same assessment as the majority, and punished by losing tokensfor being very different from the majority.  By accrediting individuals themselves, they increase their own reputation, and they are rewarded with tokens that have a monetary value.

As is typical with these systems, the value is created and shared in a circular fashion.  The students benefit from being able to engage in self-guided learning of their choosing and can have their skills verified, the assessors are compensated financially and increase their own reputation, and the students benefit from their assessors having a higher reputation.  You could imagine such a system being the backbone on which other platforms are built, such as distributed classrooms that could compete with the large education systems from early childhood education, to higher education, and anywhere in between.

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