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Education has always been an expensive privilege, and the education sector has always been one of the most conservative. People chose profession once in their life and did not change it until retirement. Usually, education meant studying at a university; self-taught people were rare. However, in the post-industrial society changes in the shape, sense, and affordability of education finally began.
According to Alvin Toffler, a well-known US sociologist, the emergence of the post-industrial society is a consequence of the intellectual revolution. The possession of knowledge and information will replace financial capital as the biggest value. Development of innovations, empowered by the most educated, will become the most important sector of the economy. It means that high-quality affordable education will become even more important than now.
The last time when the global education experienced a serious transformation was at the very beginning of the 21st century when the wide access to the Internet resulted in the emergence of the first massive open online courses (MOOC). Distance learning is very important because of demand for new formats based on availability and low cost of online resources. The age of progress and innovation gives birth to ever new professions, creating demand for good education that never stops. To enable people to study continuously, education has to be cheap and easily available. The growth of the world population and the resulting increase in the number of those who wish to get a good education should also be taken into account. According to a UNESCO estimate, the number of students will rise from 165 million in 2011 to 263 million in 2025, making the traditional education ever less accessible.
The idea of a relevant and accessible online education was comprehensively implemented for the first time in 2001 when the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced the MIT OpenCourseWare Project: it started to publish materials of all its courses and making them publicly available. The next milestone was in 2008 when the open course on Connectivism and Connective Knowledge was held. It was created by George Siemens and Stephen Downes, online education specialists, and partisans of a new approach towards education.
Distance courses soared in popularity in 2012, with the emergence of education aggregator platforms such as Coursera. Within one year after the creation of Coursera by two professors of Stanford University, 2.7 million students enrolled for 222 different courses offered by the platform. Over $146 million was invested in the project creation and development. Currently, Coursera has more than 20 million registered users, over 2,500 courses and 180 different specialisations.
The edX platform established in May 2012 by the representatives of the Harvard University and MIT became another important online education resource. In just one year, the number of its students reached one million, and currently, it is used by 10 million students from different countries. The edX platform has more than 1,300 courses developed by 90 organisations including MIT, Harvard, Princeton and Sorbonne.
The year 2013 saw the launch of the Tutellus platform that attracted about 100,000 students over the course of the first year, offering them 20,000 video courses from 20 universities. Today Tutellus is the largest educational platform in the Spanish-speaking world, counting over one million students from 160 countries and about 130,000 video courses.
One of the main characteristics of the education in the post-industrial society is the never-ending innovation of the form and essence of the educational process. This is why Tutellus, aiming for the next stage of development, is currently holding an ICO, planning to raise $40 million. Half of the money raised will be spent on the development of a scholarship programme. Other funds will be channeled to introduce proof-of-Learning и proof-of-Teaching protocols, decentralisation of management and launch of additional capacities for users. In the next three years, the number of students is expected to grow to 100 million. Apart from that, Tutellus plans to create EdTech, a global society with numerous services and incentives for token owners.
The innovational touch of Tutellus is the use of the blockchain and the issuance of internal STUT tokens earned by the students. The harder they study, the more STUT tokens they earn. The work in the Tutellus ecosystem is also beneficial for teachers: if their students are successful, they become more popular and get remuneration. As for employers, they get the ability to hire the best students, evaluating them after the number of earned tokens. Technologically, Tutellus uses a four-layer model based on the NEM blockchain, allowing for 1,000 transactions per second and making it possible to connect private blockchains to the MainNet, improving the network functionality.
Accessible and relevant education with high motivation for students, advantageous work for teachers, practical system of staff selection for employers, transparency and reliability assured by the NEM blockchain: all this puts Tutellus on the new level of the development of the education of the future.