Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5
Subscribe

Decentralized Education Will Reshape Learning and the Global Economy

Learning-technology startups are making learning easier for everybody and bringing it to the next level: decentralized education (DeEd) via the blockchain.

By
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

We are on the brink of the decentralized education (DeEd) revolution. There are more than a billion new students coming online in the next few years, students who have never used an online-learning system, who will become the future workforce with access to banking, products, delivery infrastructure and information that will create the next tidal wave in the global economy. 

Most of these students are in Africa, India, China and the developing world, and their aggregated buying power represents tens of trillions of new dollars flowing into the global economy. 

The platforms available now directly connect students with members of the educational industry, allowing boundless cross-border engagement with top academics and the liberty to modify students’ education programs online.

The timing fits in perfectly with UNESCO's Sustainable Development Goal No. 4 (SDG4), which calls for all girls and boys to have accessible, equitable and quality primary and secondary education, leading to relevant and effective learning outcomes to be achieved by 2030. It shines a spotlight on the massive opportunity DeEd will create.

Related: This 1 Particular Area of EdTech Is Ripe for Disruption. 3 Things You Need to Know.

Taking the learning revolution to the next level

But what’s wrong with current education programs? Let’s take a step back and reorganize. The real revolution is about people taking learning into their own hands. Learning-technology startups are making learning easier for everybody and bringing it to the next level: decentralized education (DeEd) via the blockchain.

Fundamental changes and disruptions usually come “from below” through individual decisions rather than sweeping government decrees.

There are four questions that can help us unlock this potential market:

  1. How can we solve this challenge of reaching these students?
  2. Are the current tools available to educational organizations able to eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including those with disabilities, indigenous people and children in disadvantaged situations? 
  3. Is the current system designed to take advantage of the predicted doubling of the EdTech sector in the next five years?
  4. Is our current education toolset able to equip the next generation of educational platforms for Web 3.0 integration?

The EdTech community needs to assist in achieving UNESCO’s SDG4 by setting the stage for decentralized education; this means new tools, processes and consensus models designed to work across the sector and encourage participation and adoption.

The solution for decentralized education

There is a need to focus on adoption across the sector, creating a B2B blockchain toolset to eliminate entry barriers (high cost and long development timelines) to participants with easy-to-deploy technology.

This requires a set of decentralized tools, and maintaining independence from any third-party influence can be guaranteed by the use of smart contracts, community-driven governance and an open ecosystem.

Using a blockchain protocol that serves as a trusted, transparent and valid intermediary between two parties in the learning space enables the validation of knowledge transfer in one or both directions.

Related: This Decentralised System Transforms Educational Institutions Payments

Open source and modular with no technical knowledge required

Educational entities focus on what they do best: educating, and most are not inherently familiar with blockchain technology. Technological know-how, research, time to develop and deploy and the financial considerations severely limit access for EdTech entities into the blockchain space, creating a high barrier to entry. An open-source platform eliminates this barrier. 

Smaller education platforms  tutors, blogs, teachers, etc.  are having a larger and larger impact on the online learning space. They adapt faster and make quicker decisions than their prominent counterparts. To compete head-to-head, these smaller education platforms need customizable, easy-to-deploy blockchain tools to make their products more trustworthy, enabling them to reach a larger audience.

To encourage the growth of a decentralized-education system, we need to create ready-to-use B2B open-source products that make an entry in the blockchain space for educational companies easy and the adoption of blockchain in education practical. A similar model is found in WordPress websites: easy deployment, drag and drop. The more entrants and participants, the faster education will be democratized. The process needs to be scalable and straightforward.

Related: With Open-Source Software, You Don't Have to Start From Scratch

The implications of DeEd

The implications of a billion more connected, educated minds are staggering, and this deserves our attention. Unlocking the EdTech sector with Web 3.0 DeEd tools will cause hundreds of billions of dollars to flow into the global economy. 

We also know that the global workplace is changing, and the future of work will need a workforce that learns different skills to adapt and grow in this new world. 

Innovation in education matches the scale of the solution to the scale of the challenge. DeEd and the future of learning will unlock the human capital and collective brainpower of a billion people to solve some of the greatest challenges we have on Earth. 

The future of learning is bright with DeEd. Let's move forward. 

Mitch Rankin

Written By

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor

Mitch Rankin is a tech entrepreneur building open-source B2B blockchain tools for Web 3.0 to connect the EdTech sector for decentralized education (DeEd). He's helping solve Unesco's Sustainable Goal No. 4 and furthering inclusive equitable education for 1 billion people.