Is 2018 the year of education Blockchains, BitDegrees & MicroDegrees?

FE providers are constantly deluged with change. If you’ve been in the sector for long, you’ll have seen the 1980s style YTS morph into a Levy based scheme; HMIs vanish, and Ofsted emerge plus the advent of Academies, UCTs & now the Baker Clause.  Stefan Drew writes in FE News. 

In fact, change has become the new certainty. So much so that we are blinded to the real change that is occurring in education.

But what could be the biggest change is yet to hit FE. It’s going to use the same technology as Bitcoins.

Over recent years you will have undoubtedly have heard of bitcoins and the technology that powers them, the blockchain. The two are synonymous in the minds of many, but are in fact only loosely related in reality. The blockchain is no more than a glorified ledger used to record any form of transaction, in this case the bitcoin transactions.

Blockchain would also mean that employers could search for people that have exactly the right experience they need. They could search for both modules taken, and accredited work experience, to find the right candidates.

But what if an IT employer wants someone with 2-3 very specific skills that are so new that they are not included as modules in a current degree course?

Commerce isn’t prepared to wait years. They identify skill needs and ideally want qualified people in weeks. They don’t want to wait until formal education catches up. And increasingly students are the same. They recognise a simple truth.

This is where education is poised to dramatically change. Few people in the FHE sector will have heard of BitDegrees and are probably wondering what I’m talking about. They will have missed the recent crowdsourcing round and the launch of Lithuania based BitDegree.org.

Students can be sponsored to take a BitDegree, undertake work whilst doing so, and get a contract at the end of their learning. No more student loans needed! And they are less likely to worry about being awarded a degree is they can go straight into a guaranteed job. Degrees could lose much of their attraction when consumers weigh up how quickly their BitDegree can be converted into cash.  

They may be called BitDegrees but initially they are not actually degrees or even bits of degrees in the academic sense. But this is simply because they are being offered by non-degree conferring organisations. In future that is likely to change, as is the speed at which the degree conferring process will need to work.

Read much more about the possible future of HE and FE Is 2018 the year of education Blockchains, BitDegrees & MicroDegrees?

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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