Learning Credential Network: Blockchain to Quantify Lifelong Learning

This post was written by Patrick Welch, DVM, MBA, DACVO, Chief Knowledge Officer at Ethos Veterinary Health; Founder of VetBloom, and  Singularity University Executive Program alum. and Jason W. Johnson, DVM, MS, DACT, Founding member, Dean and VP of the Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine, Founder & Executive Director of the Center for Animal Health in Appalachia, and Singularity University Executive Program alum.

 

Higher Education needs to change. We all knew this, and now that we are in the midst of the COVID-19 reality, we’re starting to feel a new sense of urgency. We have been focusing on the challenges present in our profession—veterinary medicine—and are excited to share our progress.

New veterinary graduates are coming out of school with a growing disconnect between their coursework and the skills needed to be a ‘practice ready’ veterinarian. Additionally, experienced veterinarians have a hard time documenting and sharing their aggregated experiences from the practice of medicine with potential new employers. Those employers, in turn, lack a reliable and scalable method for mapping competencies to understand employee skills and demonstrate their growth over time.

We need a shift in focus to skills and competencies. Competencies are the currency of the future workforce, allowing the learner to perpetually build their educational record, demonstrate their skills, and deliver on the promise of lifelong learning.

The challenge is how—how do you create a framework that allows this shift to occur? The solution must be dynamic enough to be appropriate for formal academic credentials, able to map skills and competencies, and have the technological rigor to be utilized for ongoing education, up-skilling, professional licensing, and certification.

Our answer is blockchain.

Over the last 2 years we have been working with IBM and several other entities to create the Learning Credential Network (LCN), a solution designed to transform interactions between ecosystem participants, providing a single source of truth for sharing validated and searchable learning credentials, skills, and certifications, with the goal of enhancing learning and career outcomes.

Blockchain Credentialing

This blockchain enabled LCN would:

  • Make it easier for professionals to share verified skills-based educational and work achievements with employers, thereby enabling professionals to become champions of their learning and career portfolio.
  • Help companies identify promising job candidates by enabling them to query for distinct verified skills.
  • Make it easier for academic institutions to manage learning credentials and move to competency-based learning.
  • Provide compassing tools allowing professionals to gauge the value of their achievements in the marketplace.
  • Allow credential issuers to create and manage tamper-evident, digital credentials stored on blockchain that enable learners and workers self-sovereign control of credentials.
  • Provide a mechanism for the learner to perpetually build their learning record with academic, professional development and non-formal learning achievements in one verified, sharable, learner managed record.

Success of this blockchain solution requires a shared vision for the future. Blockchain is a team sport, and enhances the ability of diverse individuals and organizations to transact with each other in a mutually beneficial ecosystem. It transcends the need for a central authority. This is why it’s crucial to create a healthy ecosystem where participants—even competitors—work together to solve the same problem.

We have worked over the past 18 months to create an industry consortium, consisting of key stakeholders that represent academic institutions, private practice groups, membership associations, continuing education providers, employers, learners, and regulatory and licensing bodies. Only through the creation of such a robust ecosystem can the LCN be successful.

As we transition from Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to Pilot phase, we are incredibly excited to shepherd the growth and evolution of a technological framework that can support the future of learning. We welcome those who share our passion and curiosity in this area to reach out and engage with us to learn more about the LCN initiative.