This article presents a scenario investigated by the QualiChain project for supporting lifelong learning through the use of Blockchain technology. Within the £40M budget, the Institute of Coding applied our work to transform how Computer Science is accredited in the UK. This scenario is based on the use of Smart Badges, which are dynamic records of accreditation that follow the same principles as Open Badges and offer the same benefits in recording accreditation. However, Smart Badges are immutable and easily verifiable as they are stored on the Blockchain. The other novelty of Smart Badges lies in their dynamic features. For example, apart from just recording a learning achievement, a Smart Badge can also offer job or course recommendations as described in the following scenario.
Collecting smart badges
Let us consider a lifelong learner, who is looking to expand her knowledge and skills in data science and has thus enrolled on a number of courses offered online, including MOOCs and OERs. Each time the learner completes a course, she is awarded a Smart Badge by the educational institution that offers the course. This Smart Badge includes data about the skills that the learner has acquired upon completion of the course. Each Smart Badge the learner earns is verified and stored on the Blockchain as part of her personal ePortfolio.
Smart badge recommendations
After studying for several months, the learner has mastered some basic data science skills, including various computer science topics such as databases. Based on these skills, the Smart Badges generate recommendations about jobs that may be suitable for the learner. The learner receives personalised recommendations about jobs that fully match her skills, as well as about jobs that match her skills partially. The learner may also further personalise these recommendations and filter them according to her specific criteria, such as the location of the job, salary, employer, etc.
Blockchain for more directed learning and careers
The learner is interested in one of the jobs that matches her skills partially. She then receives recommendations about courses that will give her the additional skills required for this job. The learner enrols on these courses, in order to acquire the needed skills. When she has acquired them, she proceeds to apply for her desired job and allows the future employer to access the relevant Smart Badges from her ePortfolio. By using this Blockchain-based infrastructure to support her in her studies, the learner has adopted a more efficient and targeted approach to learning, and towards her desired career trajectory.