Blockchain and Gamified Learning Are Shifting Learning Modalities

Opinion | July 23, 2018 By:

While education has evolved with digital learning, the overall learning model hasn’t really changed. There are several compounding factors that continue to influence this broken structure of education. First and foremost, students are still judged primarily on arbitrary grades, rather than on whether they have learned a particular skill. In return, teachers and instructors dole out grades based on lack of transparency and actionable insights.

Motivation, too, is a significant challenge that students face, as they rarely feel empowered to take responsibility for their education in the current learning model. Many students have the desire to attend college, however the cost of college increases substantially each year, with the average U.S. student graduating with nearly $38,000 in loan debt, thus pushing tertiary education further and further out of reach.

Once they are ready for a career, prospective employees struggle to meet employers’ expectations. Research has shown that employers feel there is a widening skills gap between what students learn while in school versus the skills necessary for entry-level positions. Which makes sense as, historically, education has served to provide students with generic competence in various areas rather than job-specific expertise. And this gap is only increasing as a result of sluggish changes to the current model of education and the neck-breaking pace at which technology is innovating. All in all, the current education model creates frustrated students, teachers, parents, and employers.

While the uses of blockchain technology have been realized in nearly every industry, the connection with education has been lacking. Interestingly, the technology lends itself to solving a number of core issues facing the present modality.

Games inherently draw users in by providing them with a sense of achievement using rewards-based methods. For example, when a player does well in a level, they are typically rewarded with extra coins, lives, or some other prize. These rewards, along with a sense of achievement, explain why games are so successful in motivating users to continue playing. Our publishing platform allows experts and educators to map their proven learning sequences into well-designed game loops in our learning apps.  This does an incredible job of shifting the learner mindset from fear of failure to determination and grit, individuals are able to absorb knowledge and learn new skills in a more efficient and productive manner.

Decentralizing skills and the learning journey: Once mastered, skills will be safely stored onto the blockchain as part of a universal skills registry. By shifting the focus to building blocks rather than arbitrary grades, lessons can be specifically tailored. Thanks to the blockchain, these knowledge blocks will be accessible to all permissioned participants, including parents, students, institutions and employers. This shared record of modular skills will transform the education journey by supporting a meritocracy among education providers, and by providing a direct, measurable talent pipeline to employers.

Digital learning can only take us so far; we must fundamentally change how we view learning and give students the right to take ownership of their educational path. We see gamified learning with the blockchain as the critical missing piece needed to solve some of the toughest challenges in education, and we are very excited about this opportunity.

Fred Jin is the CEO of the BitLearn Network, a new incentives-based learning system with the mission to empower kids to learn and earn toward their future education. He is fascinated with applying gaming to learning, and created the network to provide a tokenized model for college savings, teaching students financial literacy, planning and responsibility at an early age.