The Vision of the Future DeEd Model

Problems in the EdTech Space

We identified several problems with the current state of education and learning worldwide:
  1. 1.
    The current education system reflects the stratified socioeconomic structure present worldwide, which is largely dependent on geopolitical factors and limitations. Access to quality education anywhere in the world is closely proportional to financial status and overall quality of life.
  2. 2.
    The stagnation of global educational reform has led to perennially substandard levels of knowledge transfer. Geographically disenfranchised teachers are set up to fail: Poor earnings and few growth opportunities translate into progressively waning personal investment and effort for the best possible quality in their work output, thus commencing a vicious cycle of poor quality and low engagement in the learning process, resulting in increasing dropout rates.
  3. 3.
    The global education system as a whole functions in silos, The developed world enjoys unlimited educational resources that make them proactive and prepared to overcome the challenges that the COVID pandemic presented. On the other end of the spectrum, developing states were left behind due to their limited resources and inadequate financial motivation for major educational stakeholders.
  4. 4.
    More people are beginning to ask questions about the performance and value of college and university education in the most developed nations, even though the higher education ecosystem there remains the global standard. There is tremendous growth potential for an industry that, in some segments, has not evolved over the last century. A system that has caused trillions in student debt is primed for a change.
  5. 5.
    The current learning system fosters financial exclusion without a clear pathway to financial inclusion for billions of learners in the developing world.
  6. 6.
    Learners do not have access to critical, creative and practical knowledge that could provide solutions to many perennial issues prevalent at a local level, like climate change, agricultural issues, energy issues, financial and business problems and accessibility to the global marketplace.
  7. 7.
    A standardized curriculum leads to a “one-size-fits-all” approach with no margin for customization based on the learner’s abilities, needs and desired outcomes.
  8. 8.
    Lack of motivation for learners and experts to strive for the best outcomes.
  9. 9.
    University programs are often disconnected from the current market needs — many programs are designed without present (or even future) job prospects. Sometimes, the curriculum is outdated, and employers have already changed their job readiness needs.

Solutions Forward Protocol Proposes

The solution we propose and plan to actualize through the Forward Protocol Initiative is:
  1. 1.
    A democratized and decentralized learning model with blockchain technology at its core
  2. 2.
    Equal opportunity and access to a world-class education irrespective of gender, ethnicity, age, political or religious views, cultural and financial background
  3. 3.
    A sponsorship model where the community (NGOs, sponsors, parents, benefactors, etc.) can fund and aid a student’s education and professional development
  4. 4.
    An “earn as you learn” incentive program for learners based on completion and qualitative outcomes
  5. 5.
    Incentivizing “value creation” rather than “actions”
  6. 6.
    The opportunity to create substantial income for experts in exchange for sharing information, with an algorithm (AI- and ML-based) that tracks and rewards them for their contribution to a learner’s education and subsequent employment opportunities.
  7. 7.
    Connecting the best global experts with eager learners across the globe in a model that ensures economic viability for teachers and the organizations that employ them
  8. 8.
    A modular, open-source architecture and ready-to-deploy smart contracts ready for any learning community to adopt blockchain technology and grow while encouraging community involvement and customization
  9. 9.
    A model where success is based on parameters of quality, completion, and growth with practical skill acquisition
  10. 10.
    A transparent democratic system for NGOs to sponsor education in any region with the assurance that funds are received and used for education by the intended recipients, and not diluted due to administration fees, corruption or other geopolitical factors

Execution Key Points

From an execution perspective, the following key points were identified:
  1. 1.
    EdTech entities are focused on the education process and are not inherently familiar with blockchain technology. The high barrier to entry due to technological know-how, research, time to develop and deploy as well as financial commitments severely limit EdTech entities from exploring blockchain technology.
  2. 2.
    Smaller education platforms - tutors, blogs, teachers, etc. - have a growing influence on educational content creation and the global learning space. While educational companies have the resources to outspend and outstrip smaller companies in the fight for market share, small companies often have a greater level of versatility and on-the-spot intuitiveness. These small-scale education platforms need customizable and easy-to-deploy blockchain tools that will make their products more trustworthy, competitive, and of greater value.
  3. 3.
    Larger education entities are sponsoring research projects and giving grants to explore and define applications for blockchain in the education space. There is an opportunity to fund development for specific faculties on top of an open-source DeEd platform and contribute to global educational reform.
  4. 4.
    There is a need to provide ready-to-use open-source products that make entry easy and blockchain adoption practical for education companies.

From a Student to a Certified Professional

Forward Protocol supports streamlining the learning process of a broad variety of skills (based on the integrating platform’s areas of focus), courses, and study material (such as books, tutorials, videos, online lectures and webinars, Q&A postings, and more).
Learners can acquire courses that are essential for their unique skill set and professional career aspirations, be tested and evaluated on the studied topics, and receive certifications and even rewards upon successful completion of the course. The protocol aims to connect experts and learners in a very different way than they are connected now. The protocol’s primary objective is to make“content creation” decentralized and incentivize the right participants.
DeFi decentralizes the FinTech ecosystem by providing smart contract solutions for FinTech instruments such as lending/borrowing, saving accounts, insurances, etc., providing unfettered access to all the lego blocks of the FinTech ecosystem to encourage adoption and innovation.
With DeEd, Forward Protocol’s goal is to define smart contract solutions for the interactions between experts and learners in order to incentivize knowledge transfer. This protocol will be accessible to any platform facilitating the interaction between experts and learners.
This incorporates a system where -
  • an educational institution may launch a certification program that lists the necessary credits across categories needed for a learner to qualify in that area,
  • learners can select experts of their choice from anywhere in the world, guided by their ratings and reviews based on their skills and course delivery. These choices are driven by the learners’ perspective, available experts in their areas of specialization, interests, and philosophies. These conditions encourage an engaged, motivated transfer of knowledge, which will ultimately benefit both the expert and the learner.
An example of two different learners getting the same outcome would be the following: Learner A has an interest in fashion and elects to learn from a fashion-brand marketer. On the other hand, Learner B has an interest in the industrial-B2B field and chooses to learn from an industrial-B2B marketer.
They both complete their courses and get their certification which is based on job readiness, which is a blend of IQ (intelligence) + EQ (emotional intelligence) + RQ (resilience). This wholesome approach is critical to unleashing a learner's potential. It is in sharp contrast to the current system, which focuses on IQ and developing skills that emphasize memorization and standardization, qualities that are easily and efficiently supplanted by artificial and augmented intelligence (AI).
A wholesome education facilitates long-term economic value creation. Students get useful information from industry leaders and learn to excel in industries where IQ alone is insufficient.
Both learners get credits for the marketing course, but they learned from their respective areas of interest. This approach stimulates a passion for learning, as well as job readiness in their respective fields.
Ultimately, an educational institution would not teach or conduct examinations. Instead, they are responsible for organizing and facilitating the experts to pass knowledge on to the next generation of learners in the most efficient and effective manner. They can achieve this goal using the Forward Protocol framework. Forward Protocol creates the framework for experts around the world to impart knowledge. It also allows students to learn, take tests, and complete certifications created by organizations and institutions or independent entities that can validate that knowledge was transferred to a satisfactory level. This is how Forward Protocol facilitates the validation of a learner's education and skills.
Anyone can learn and function effectively within this framework. They do not need to attend a conventional school or university to participate.

How Would this Education Roadmap Look for a Learner

A child's foundational education may begin at an institution or at home. They start with essential subjects based on prescribed models from languages, the sciences, and math.
Once they develop an interest in a particular area or skill, they can specialize in that, gain expertise and secure certification of their education.
They can enroll in internship programs, work in related industries, and further their education through real-world experiences faster than with traditional education systems.
There is no rationale for a learner to go through the entire body of knowledge as currently prescribed until they turn 25 before specializing in the skills they need to function in their chosen career.
If a learner becomes interested in a subject at the age of 14, they can enroll in a program specializing in that area. The platform offering the course may recommend 20-30 accredited experts, a selection of books, and resources to gain relevant knowledge. Once they finish the prescribed materials, they may proceed to write the certification examination. As long as they learn from the correct sources and pass the test, they get credit for that course.
The decentralized model will rate, evaluate and showcase experts, the course material, and the examinations, allowing learners to access this knowledge at any time or place.
Forward Protocol aims to inspire an education framework that is decentralized and democratized.
Forward Protocol is building a system that can coexist with the existing education system, while affording learners and experts greater flexibility to interact with learning from different approaches or standpoints.
  • Teachers can teach from any part of the world
  • Learners can learn from any part of the world
  • Students can choose to attend a school or learn from their homes
  • Age is not a yardstick for learning - 40 years old learners can share the “classroom” with 10-year olds
  • Schools, universities, and learning institutions become education facilitation centres. A student may choose to attend a school if the home is not equipped to facilitate their education
  • The teachers and other experts may not be in the classroom physically since they can work remotely with greater efficiency. The teachers in the schools may become the facilitators, connecting with and developing the students’ EQ, helping them get the best results through the experts’ instructions.
  • The cost to have experts in every city and town on the globe is prohibitive and unrealistic. However, an expert teaching remotely can easily reach learners globally.
  • Learners will learn irrespective of their location and age in a credit-oriented system.
The goal is to offer a decentralized education where learners can get information from the best sources. They can choose the experts best suited to them and still get the credits for the course on their records. They gain knowledge during the lessons and take examinations created by their favored course creators. Meanwhile, educational institutions become facilitators of an improved learning system.
Forward Protocol is not creating a protocol to compete with Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) hosts like Udemy, Coursera, etc. Instead, we are creating a framework that these platforms can use to improve outcomes, engagement, and enroll more users.

Forward's Incentive and Reward System

Forward Protocol was designed to resolve the difficulties of online education, which result from lack of self-discipline, boredom, passive learning, among others. A recent study indicates that the completion rates of online courses are marginal and declining, with 3.13 percent of the registered learners completing their courses in 2017/18, in comparison to 4 percent in 2015/16 and 6 percent in 2014/15 (Reich and Ruipérez-Valiente, 2019, "The MOOC Pivot", Science, Vol. 363, Issue 6423, pp. 130-131).
Through the $FORWARD token reward system, the Forward Protocol platform enables learners to enjoy rewards as they advance in their studies, succeed or achieve excellent results (as defined by the course expert or by the platform's settings). These rewards motivate learning and course completion.
Token rewards can be converted into fiat or cryptocurrencies. They can also be used to purchase new courses and pay for the platform's services, such as paying with their $FORWARD reward tokens for submission of job market applications or any options enabled by the deploying platform.