While looking into blockchain technology’s applications to education, I discovered the “Learning is Earning 2026” project from a collaboration between the American College Testing (ACT) Foundation, (an American non-profit organization that is most known for creating and administering the ACT test) and the Institute for the Future (a non-profit research organization dedicated to emerging trends and foresight).
The “Learning is Earning 2026” conference developed the proposal for using blockchain technology for educational purposes, creating open access to educational resources and information in a global “Ledger” containing “edublocks” (instead of bitcoins) of information that represents a public global collective of the world’s learning and earning. This quick video [6m41s] explains the possibilities of the technology; the first 2 minutes gives an overview of the technology and their vision, and the remaining video presents anecdotal vignettes of the possibilities the technology can offer.
Blockchain technology (see this video [2m25s] for a quick overview) affords the sharing of tamper-proof data, which the ACT Foundation & IFTF forecasts will reshape the way we share and distribute research and data about the information and education we earn in our studies and careers. Treating learning and information as a currency that any individual can earn and share (similar to bitcoin) has big implications for the future of education, as well as the increasingly information-driven economy of the future. They predict that by sharing the knowledge and information of educational trends (namely what people study, and how much money their knowledge earns them) can help drive future innovations and trends across industries and interests.
While they have not published a formal report, the conference resulted in the creation of this interactive map of the educational economy ecosystem that traces the key trends in education: This map is a fantastic starting point for other future trends and opportunities connected to their vision of a connected, global information economy that is centred around education and the earning potentials that are directly connected to knowledge.
The recent explosion of blockchain currencies demonstrates a demand for this technology, and while the ACT’s initiative doesn’t really have clear projections or forecasts on the actual earning potential of their venture, this technology and applying it to knowledge ‘capital’ (education/skills/learning) instead of currency ‘capital’ represents a huge potential for future education ventures, as well as the global information economy of the future.