The American Council on Education (ACE) are funding the development of a new distributed ledger technology to be built on the blockchain 

This inspired idea has been put forth to help students gain better control over their personal data and privacy, promote lifelong learning, and bridge the communications gap between how higher education and the labour market measure an individual’s skillset.

During this unprecedented time of economic upheaval and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, “fault lines between educational institutions and the demands of an increasingly dynamic labour market” have been exposed. Students who were pursuing new careers and specialist qualifications are now facing the grim possibility of unemployment, homelessness and even a struggle for food.

A comprehensive 57-page report written by Kerri Lemoie and Louis Soares marks the first phase of a new initiative that will incorporate a blockchain-based DLT to improve the current outdated foundation for educational support and infrastructure. These plans have been part of a two-year study, but the current crisis has accelerated implementation.

The American Council of Education believe that blockchain “holds promise to create more efficient, durable connections between education and work.” With the technological fabric in place to provide new opportunities for education and employment, students will also have greater access to their personal data to transition into the workplace more seamlessly from a learning environment.

When describing why the Distributed Ledger Technology would benefit our educational system, the authors cited Nobel laureate economist, Joseph Stiglitz, and Bruce C. Greenwald. They wrote a ground-breaking book back in 2014, titled Creating a Learning Society: A New Approach to Growth, Development, and Social Progress.

The two highly educated and decorated experts brought a macroeconomic perspective, stating that “the most important endowment (for economic growth) is a society’s learning capacities, which in turn are affected by the knowledge that it has; its knowledge about learning itself; and its knowledge about its own learning capacities.”

Even before the world was hit with the coronavirus pandemic, the need for individuals to have control over their own credentials and data had already been raised. Recent statistics reveal that people should strive to be lifelong learners if they want to improve their chances of a successful and rewarding career. Having an immutable ledger that retains an easily accessible, permanent record of achievements can help a student grow in expertise, expand their certification, and communicate these accolades to a prospective employer more easily.

This initial report has discovered that there are 71 active efforts around the world which are working towards integrating blockchain technology with education. All these projects are at different stages of development, but one thing is clear: It is an exciting time to witness some of our age-old institutions evolve through the adoption of this versatile, decentralised technology.