As we get closer to the turn of a new decade we’ve come to a point in time where decentralized finance platforms, applications, and protocols are becoming more common to the public eye. As Bitcoin ushered in a new era before the start of 2010, we’re seeing similar breakthroughs in select industries where various projects have the opportunity to usher in a new era for their respected fields into the start of 2020. While there seems to be an overwhelming market for platforms aiming to disrupt anything from public transportation to the US dollar there’s one industry that’s lacking interest, yet has understood the benefits of decentralization for a very long time. For as long as we’ve had educational institutions within our society there’s been a debate involving centralized vs. decentralized practices along with each’s pros and cons. In this write-up, we’ll be covering how the education industry utilizes decentralized practices and how now is the greatest time for a change.
Defining and Understanding Decentralization within Education
Decentralization is a very ambitious term that can be defined in various forms depending on the subject. The term comes in many forms and many even consider this term an ultimatum we may never truly see in any actual practice. Still, we can see examples of decentralized characteristics take presence in our daily lives in ways we didn’t previously consider, many for the better. In education, decentralization is a very common approach towards certain aspects of how our educational institutions all over the world are running, not only from a financial standpoint but also from faculty operations and so on. Understanding how significant an institution is decentralized or centralized can be generally summarized within three subcategories.
Breaking down the funding structure of an institution is crucial when trying to understand who has influenced where, and helps you get a visual as to just how it affects other operations within each institute. Currently, we’re seeing an interesting turn in select governments like Bangladesh who are pushing forward strong funding within the private sector in hopes of offering higher education practices for their communities. Their angle on this approach is to increase the private sector’s community presence while lowering the financial barrier to lower-income families. While some may see this as a strong move for their communities, as the public opinion is that private institutions are more hands-on with student and community affairs, some may see this as a scape for fixing a troubled public education system. When there’s a distributed network of funding outlets involved within a private institution this usually will correlate to more input and guidance an institution will receive. Of course, this doesn’t go without saying that there are also many ways to do this wrong as we’ve seen before in many privatized universities within the U.S. who’ve gone belly up after a lack of core guidance and improper funding practices.
How an institution’s curriculum is decided varies greatly from private to public schools, let alone from country to country. We’re seeing networks of privatized secondary schools in America alone share similar curriculum when sharing one of two things: religious affiliations, or shared investors. While this may not be an issue within the US we’re seeing it strike up different attention in countries overseas like Thailand where there’s a re-centralization movement going on after a trial period of decentralized operations within the public sector. With more authority being given to the regional government, the Thai government is allowed to make critical decisions as to what curriculum standards are being shared within the public sector. While this may be seen as a positive move in distributing a balance in education standards within the public system, it can bring a not so favorable outcome as we’ve seen here in the US where curriculum standards in the public system can range on extreme differences within any given local community.
From the private to the public sector there’s a wide range in how faculties are brought into each institution. In South East Asia some countries allow their regional government to oversight faculty operations, from hirings to the general core decisions outside of the curriculum while others allow their operations to run almost on an individual basis with select provisional guidelines to abide by their regional outline. While these can be seen as strong ways of mainstreaming their respected workforces, there can be hang-ups with relying on a higher authority that may be managing anywhere from 5–50 other institutions’ hiring process; or there can be significantly lacking in the quality of a new hire when one institution is forced to make this decision on their own due to circumstances ranging from lack of applicants to lack of quality applicants interested.
What Does This Mean for Education?
When discussing decentralization in education you have to consider how their operations infrastructure is influenced by their funding agents, how said entities are addressing their curriculum standards, and how they’re going about their faculty operations. When considering how a vast majority of the public education system is almost completely reliant on their respected governments we see a huge issue that is only getting worse within a system as we have in the US. Curriculum standards in the public systems, especially in the United States, range significantly. While there is a generalized guideline each institution needs to follow for various textbooks etc. that they follow at a State level, we’re still seeing some institutions educate our students with dated practices and misinformed studies. A great funding example we face in the US can be highlighted from a public elementary school perspective. If there is an issue with certain needs we see individual instructors front the bill for general needs because of how lackluster their government funding budgets are. When a need for an increase in budget is requested from one teacher in this situation it then gets passed onto that institution’s Principal, from there they compose a request that’s submitted to their districts head, from there the district will “see” if there’s any headroom for such which is turned down almost every time. The majority of these requests are ignored or never followed through not just due to the lack of funding but also due to the due processes in requesting such is almost made impossible. Due to the headache caused by going through too many channels for basic needs, we’re seeing these public institutions all over the United States fail to deliver assistance due to a centralized due process. Where these public entities are failing private institutions are picking up the slack by providing a more hands-on approach that handles such matters in a timely fashion. While this is a more decentralized flow, there’s one narrative that all these problems share and that’s while private institutions may deliver higher throughput in test scores and quality of education there’s still a significant financial barrier to entry for a better education standard, especially in the third world and developing countries.
An Education System Without Compromise
The current education industry has long resisted the Internet’s inherit capacity to upend its industrial business models and regulative elements. Instead, it has held onto its deep-rooted institutional design, using the Internet and other technologies to assure the survival of the status quo rather than as mechanisms for change. Rather than seizing on the capacity of technology education to disrupt old business models and transform the sector into one empowered by its customers, it has ensured institutional isomorphism. The existing models of education in the world today are no more than mirrors of the past with technology being used to adorn their failings with false promises.
With decentralized education practices becoming more common on an international scale in society today, there lays market potential yet to be discovered that’s begging to be disrupted. We’ve seen respectable institutions form up within the vocational sector that aims to offer a more hands-on, lower financial barrier to entry software engineering programs like Flatiron School or Lambda School. Unfortunately, these growing institutions are focused on one professional field of interest and don’t offer any other level of education outside of the adult age range. While programs like these are becoming common there is a lack of availability to developing countries, levels of education provisions are limited, and the barrier to entry, while competitive, is still a high bargain for many.
Taking on the Fight
While many are still grasping for answers, a growing project originated from Australia has been busy working on delivering a strong, personalized educational experience that students of all ages can take up from any corner of the world. Not only is this project taking on one of our societies growing issues, it’s also powered by some of the world’s most prominent emerging technologies we have ever seen. Introducing Edduus — the world’s first intelligent learning system on the blockchain.
Edduus is offering the world a new global education system. Rather than shoe-horn new technology to a centuries-old education system, we have created a new education system that takes full advantage of new technologies based upon the core principles of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and personalization — a truly personalized learning ecosystem that intelligently works with each learner. Edduus’ AMM, coupled with AI and blockchain technology, guides learners interactively throughout their lifelong journey in education.
Edduus implements a proprietary learning architecture named AMM that’s tailored to the abilities, interests, preferences, and other needs of individual learners. At its heart is a metadata reference model for mapping human knowledge. Edduus recognizes that nor knowledge or the way people understand knowledge is completely linear and hierarchical. Knowledge has meanings and application across multiple contexts — more like a “web” than a “tree”.
AMM enables a new paradigm of education where there are no institutions, just learners co-joined at a point in time around a common piece of learning. This first-of-its-kind teaching and learning system makes education individualized, engaging and affordable for everyone. In conjunction with other functional modules, AMM brings a truly interactive learning experience that allows the learners to easily follow along and take control of their learning.
Edduus’ AMM provides the world with the opportunity to dramatically redefine the very concept of equality in education: from one that goes beyond providing everyone with the same educational inputs and opportunities to one in which we all have access to a unique learning experience (and resources) based upon our individual needs.