The skyrocketing costs of University and the increased accessibility and range of online education providers has led to young people turning their backs on University in exchange for Online Courses. This opens new challenges for education providers and employers such as, falsified certification, data transparency, and the traceability of qualifications. Problems that we at Vizidox, a Blockchain company in Oxford, believe we have solved.
These problems are set to really impact the employment market over the next few years, going to University in the UK is expensive, and it’s been getting more expensive with each passing year. A degree will now put a student in £50,000 of debt on average according to a study by the Institute of Fiscal Studies and with most graduates earning just £19,000 a year, it’s not surprising that young people are more skeptical of the value provided by a university degree.
University applications have been in decline for the last three years dropping from 718,480 in 2015 to 695,565 in 2018. In a recent survey of 16 year olds conducted by Ipsos MORI for the Sutton Trust, it was found that only 65% of them thought that going to university was important. Just as many actually said they would consider apprenticeships or other high quality training routes.
One of those alternatives to University is online learning and the same changes can be seen across the Atlantic in the United States, where Inside Higher Ed found that the “Number and proportion of college and university students taking classes online grew solidly in 2017, as overall postsecondary enrolments fell. A third of all students now take at least one online course.” as use of online education increases a number of problems for the industry are likely to emerge.
Between the 900 universities and the thousands of independent training organisations providing online courses, there are estimated to be 101 million students enrolled across the globe*. This opens up the opportunity for people to abuse the lack of proper data traceability and transparency that comes with such a big market sector. There are many low quality courses, and even diploma mills, companies that provide diplomas for ‘life experience’ with no exam if you pay the right price.
A study by HireRight in 2018 found that 86% of employers had exposed a job candidate who was lying on their resume. The most common lie was falsification of educational history. At present, if an employer has doubts over a candidates claims, they can perform checks with the university or college in question. With the move to online education providers validating qualifications becomes a lot more complicated. This is where we at Vizidox, a blockchain company in Oxford one of Britain’s most prominent University cities, have developed a solution.
We are a Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) provider who specialise in bringing the decentralisation, transparency and security features of ledger technology to educational institutions and providers.
Blockchain by its very nature allows for an incorruptible audit trail to be created, which means that students would be able to have their qualification committed to the blockchain. Employers could verify them digitally over the blockchain without the expense of third party screening. It would also help online education platforms not only differentiate themselves in a crowded market but track student progress, verify student identity and encourage learner engagement through digital badges and other forms of gamification.
The reason that more providers haven’t embraced blockchain so far is the expense of developing a blockchain platform from scratch. This process can cost hundreds of thousands of pounds and requires specialised development teams.
Vizidox already have a fully developed platform that is being used by educational companies across the globe, therefore bypassing the high costs and lengthy development time associated with Blockchain products. SAE Creative Media Institute in Australia is already issuing its Games Development degrees through the platform. What we have done with our VDX platform is streamline the process of issuing certificates and qualifications on the blockchain.
It begins with the educational partner uploading the certificate to the VDX portal. There it is given a file fingerprint, then a credential file with metadata is generated, the credential is anchored to the blockchain and then sent by email to the graduate.
For a potential employer checking the credentials is as easy as uploading a copy of the document to the VDX portal, where the fingerprint is compared to the original and checked for integrity and revocation/expiration, before it is verified as successful or unsuccessful.
The streamlined process means that the problems caused by falsification of qualifications can be eliminated for employers and education providers both on and offline can give students verifiable certificates for courses, adding huge amounts of value to their platform for their students. With more students turning to online education every year the need for an easy to use verification service is growing and here at Vizidox we are ready to help companies embrace that future now.