May 26, 2016

Learning the Blockchain Basics

Guest post by Mary Tighe

If you’re like me, you’ve heard and seen blockchain mentioned occasionally in news articles and on social media feeds throughout the past year or two. It’s usually mentioned right after bitcoin, which is a concept my brain can’t seem to fully wrap itself around.

So when the KnowledgeWorks strategic foresight team started exploring blockchain’s potential impact on the future of education, I asked a lot of questions and tried to learn the basics. Here are some of the questions I asked:

  1. What is blockchain? How long has it been around?
  2. How does blockchain work?
  3. Why have we been hearing a lot about blockchain in the news lately?
  4. Why did KnowledgeWorks decide to start considering blockchain and the future of learning?
  5. What possible impact could blockchain have on the future of learning?
  6. Blockchain seems really far out for education. Why is important to consider possibilities now?
  7. Who are the people out there looking to apply it to education?
  8. What research process did KnowledgeWorks go through to learn more about blockchain?
  9. What will KnowledgeWorks do with the research?

My coworker, Jason Swanson, kindly answered my questions. Check out my official Q&A to read the answers and learn more about the basics of blockchain and how it could impact the future of learning.

KnowledgeWorks strategic foresight team organized and hosted some focus groups that brought together experts in blockchain, data and education to have a conversation about what the technology could do, what might not be possible, and what other technologies should be considered. After three waves of discussions with different sets of experts, they took the major findings, combined those findings with secondary research, and created four scenarios to imagine how blockchain might be used in learning in 2026.

In June, the full paper, “Learning on the Block: Could Smart Transactional Models Help Power Personalized Learning?” will be available for free. Subscribe for updates and to receive your copy.

Written by: Guest Post

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