The Learning Economy

What is the Learning Economy Foundation doing to contribute to the Internet of Education (IoE)?

Up until now, the IoE has been a sort of philosophy that has been embraced by hundreds of innovators, orgs, governments, and institutions, as a way to think about a future where learners and employees have true agency and sit at the center of their own learning and employment journeys.

As of 2022, the IoE is being built in earnest, as pilots and standards groups stretching back a decade are finally making what was just conjecture into tangible and radically accessible tools. Both large scale ‘open source’ projects and ‘proprietary’ projects are actively working to develop broad infrastructure to make this future a reality.

At the Learning Economy Foundation, we believe in the former (open source), as we believe that open access and standards based technologies are the best way to ensure that this new technology will enable every human on earth to access quality education, jobs, and opportunities.

The only way to not repeat the problems of the past, with access only limited to the privileged with value extraction by a platform owner, is to ensure the systems that sit beneath this future remain open, learner centered, and safe from the diminishing value of profit-over-public good philosophies.

In 2019, Learning Economy Foundation’s primary focus was to bring open and accessible universal digital wallets to the world, because wallets connect learners, employees, academics and employers into a decentralized and learner centered network. This is much like the way the internet connects us via email. The big difference going forward is that the digital wallet will give the individual verifiable skills data and infallible trust - which is the power of blockchain technology. We can then build the rest of the Internet of Education around these individual wallets via apps that can provide the utilities that leverage the strengths of the wallets. And so in 2019, we began collaborating with others to develop a specification for a Universal Wallet at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to provide the key framework architecture for future developments. Then in 2020 we began developing SuperSkills, the first proof of concept of digital wallets for children ages 7-12 years with the Lego Foundation, to solve the hardest data privacy challenges first. Super Skills also allowed us to prototype learning pathways, gamification, and learner profiles. These are key building blocks to create a love of learning for children - a proven differentiator for future achievement. It also allowed us to further develop the application foundations for the LearnCard, an open source and universal wallet for education and employment that we believe will be our public good contribution to the world.

Now in 2022, we are expanding into K-12, Higher Education, Employment, and emergency communities like refugees, by developing a series of connected applications that bring to life other opportunities building on the principles IoE ecosystem including: learning & employment pathways, groups & messaging, voting & governance, and micro-scholarships & earn-to-learn tools. We hope in the next two years, all of these tools and more will be widely accessible and connected to a global Internet of Education network that is governed democratically by everyone involved, including and favoring, the learners and employees. We are nearing the end of the first phase of governance research and will publish our findings and a proposed initial governance framework this fall, to begin the hard work of standing up a fully global web3 IoE network.

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