The coronavirus pandemic is changing the education sector as well as some important aspects of our lives. Most of the teaching and learning has been transferred to digital platforms as many cities continue to be quarantined or the restrictions on closures relaxed. But the education sector will never be the same again.
What is peer learning?
Education goes through various developments and changes. These changes have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic in recent months. However, the new virus did not completely stop the formation. Only new ways were required to provide and receive learning content. One of these options is peer learning, which has been around for some time.
In a formal classroom, an educator shares his knowledge with the students. In peer learning, students share their knowledge with other students. P2P learning spans jobs and industries. It should be noted that peer learning is complementary learning and should not replace formal education.
Benefits of peer learning
Peer learning should offer benefits to those who share and maintain knowledge. Students need to learn as much as they would if they were in a formal classroom. The same applies to employees who have to acquire as much knowledge as from an external expert. Some of the advantages of this type of learning are:
- A Degreed study found that employees prefer to learn new things from their employees rather than contact their superiors.
- Peer educators understand what students go through every day. They know the experiences of the students and therefore have an advantage over external trainers or teachers.
Peer learning is changing with the growth of the online education sector. Some students prefer to watch video content rather than read notes. The same applies to young professionals who are probably more interested in practical projects to advance their careers. Peer learning platforms are designed to close this gap by providing practical, step-by-step learning content in video format.
The rise of blockchain in education
Blockchain technology has been called a hammer looking for a nail because it can solve problems that occur in many industries. Blockchain use cases in education are as important as the use of technology in finance and payments. Technology applications in education include identity management, certificate and title verification, cloud storage, record management, digital rights protection, security, and monitoring donations to educational institutions.
More and more students are taking online courses. More than 6 million Americans take courses online and are waiting to graduate. Some of the online students are career professionals who want to change or accelerate their careers. This growing number of online students could easily pave the way for fake degrees and certificates. The University of St. Gallen in Switzerland has launched a blockchain pilot project to verify the authenticity of its degrees. Using such a system would reduce the time required to check degrees from a few days to a few seconds.
Students have to keep a lot of records. This includes support, modules, qualifications and even payments. Instead of these institutional records, they can be recorded on the blockchain, where the data is immutable. Students can access their data at any time without having to contact their alma mater. The University of Nicosia in Cyprus has developed a blockchain system that stores student information such as grades, certificates and more.
Blockchain remains an emerging technology, and its true potential and limits have yet to be fully explored. Technology is likely to have more use cases in the education sector in the future. So far it is clear that the coronavirus pandemic has shown the need for new and innovative ideas in education. Students need a new way of learning, while young workers can use online platforms to improve their professional skills.
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