What if we could change the mindset of an institution determining whether our education counts for something, and made the process a little more democratised? Could we take the steps towards making education more fair and open? In the second and last part of Tutorpass’ series on micro-pivoting, I explore what this means.
Recently, I wrote about how non-fungible tokens could make online courses better. As it stands, online courses suffer from a “proof of credentials” problem.
What makes one learning experience more legitimate or trustworthy than another? Is someone taking notes in a classroom participating in a more authentic learning experience than someone watching a well-produced YouTube video? Even though they might both be studying the same thing?
With the UK government opting to cut the threshold for graduate repayment of student loans, we have to question the importance of higher education. A massive chunk of the university premium is just having the degree — not what you learn while getting the degree.
A degree signals critical information to the outside world about your employability because:
- Completing it takes a reasonable amount of intelligence.
- Going to (and graduating from) university shows your willingness to conform to social norms and expectations.
- It shows that at a minimum, you could follow the directions required and pass enough classes for it.
These signals make up a large percentage of the university graduate’s earning premium. Ironically, most of what universities teach has no value in the labour market. Graduates forget most of what they learn. Quite often, their professors have not been active participants in the labour market for years. None of it makes sense.
The overarching purpose of Tutorpass is to help expedite the move from an institution-led, credential-based educational system to one focused more on competency and skills. Our educational system works great for its intended purpose. But what we need now is a replacement for a better purpose.
How do we accomplish this?
As a start, we can think of our individual learning experiences as “collectables”. Putting it all together is straightforward:
- An instructor creates a course on a platform.
- Upon course completion, the platform automatically creates and mints an original NFT.
- The platform transfers the NFT to the student’s connected wallet.
As a result, a student would end up with a vast array of authenticated learning experiences in a single location.
It makes things a lot easier for employers. Instead of looking for a generic business degree, they could look for specific learning experiences, i.e. someone who has taken a negotiation course in combination with corporate finance.
With Tutorpass, I want to contribute to a future where no one owns or is the “central” accrediting agency. I am not calling for the extinction of traditional education and its institutions. I still think they have a meaningful place in society.
But we need to build a complementary system that allows anyone to have access to incredible opportunities or learning without having to take on an inordinate amount of debt.
I’m a firm believer that faster and cheaper pathways to good jobs are the best way to boost equity and combat income inequality. We can tackle any economic crisis head-on with a leaner approach to reskilling and upskilling. A university degree does not fully meet this requirement.
Let’s think bigger.
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