Schools and universities, some claim, are becoming expensive and are failing to teach subjects valued by employers. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), on the other hand, are largely free and have gained in popularity as people move away from traditional educational models.
However, whilst MOOCs are generally seen as less expensive and more flexible options, the downside is that whilst many people start these courses, a lot fewer finish them.
Lithuanian startup BitDegree believe they can solve all of these problems by using smart tokens to properly incentivise learning, including paying learners. Fresh from winning the Moonrise 2017 competition at Moontec, Northern Europe’s most important blockchain conference, the educational start-up is just about to complete its ICO.
Bitdegree CEO Andrius Putna described their challenge as “revolutionizing education via blockchain globally”. They plan to build an education platform which offers free courses in skills employers need.
Student Learning Rewarded with Token
Costs will be covered by sponsoring companies who expect to reduce costs on in-house training and recruitment. Potential employers involved in the project include other blockchain start-ups SingularityNET and Nexchange.
MOOCs also offer free education but keeping students motivated can be hard. Courses have low completion rates as, unlike mainstream education, there is generally a lack of pressure to finish, in part because employers do not recognise the qualification the student might receive.
Under Bitdegree’s plan students will be incentivised by receiving the BDG token for completing courses. Programme creators and contributors will also be rewarded.
Bitdegree hopes to differentiate its pedagogical approach with learning done through gamification. Students can enlist initially for a range of subjects from Cryptography through to an Introduction to Artificial Intelligence.
Whilst courses are expected to be technology focused, the organisers of the token sale point out that there are plans to expand to more generalised subjects further down the line.
In the meantime, students can expect both results and certification to be stored on the blockchain to provide full transparency and assurance for employers on the legitimacy of the qualifications obtained.
From tomorrow, the ICO will be entering its final week week, finishing on December 29th, having so far achieved just over half of its hard cap target.