In this post I will apply the CLEM framework to my current experience of learning about blockchain technology and the practice of creating an application that utilises it.
Blockchain as a technology enables communities to form, it is used in Bitcoin, Ethereum, other cryptocurrencies, distributed ledgers, smart contracts, and people are trying to apply it to a variety of use-cases everyday. These communities are primarily practice based learning communities formed around these applications. However, I don’t believe knowledge of blockchain technology in these practice based learning communities is reified knowledge as defined by Riel and Polin (2004), but rather tacit knowledge. The refied knowledge in these communities that use blockchain as a means to their applications appears to me as contextual tools or procedures.
While I have found a few core communities that discuss the blockchain, many tend to focus on the application of that technology to their context. As I plan to do, I want to use Blockchain methodology to create a CPD tracking system. This specalisation in communities is not necessarily a problem, it simply means that I need to keep context in mind when reading or discussing blockchain technology. For example, when I read a post about using an API to read a ‘wallet’ in a bitcoin forum I need to consider what that would look like in my context and translate that ‘wallet’ to ‘training record’.
In terms of academic literature many universities are researching this area so there is robust catalogue to help when validating information gathered from less academic sources. Industry has also proved to be a useful resource on blockchain technologies, such as IBM, https://developer.ibm.com/blockchain/. An online course on Lynda has proved useful as a primer to understand the more ‘breaking news’ or ‘state of the union’ type conversations happening in my other learning sources: sub-reddits, blockchain blog and unchained podcast.
I have found a couple of useful explanatory websites which nicely demonstrate the process of a transaction on a blockchain, such as https://anders.com/blockchain/. Further to this some institutions have already worked in areas very close to my project idea, MIT’s ‘Blockcerts‘ for example will help guide me when I come to create my application. There are Udemy courses that run through the creation of an application using blockchain technology – but I’ve yet to decide whether to pay the cost. At the moment examples on Youtube have been enough.
Model or Schema
I decided to use a project as my method to understand blockchain technology. As I work through the process of creating an application, a schema I’ve developed and run through many times, I will come to parts of the application that will utilise a specific function of blockchain technology. Applying that function at that time will certainly give me a greater understanding of the use and limits of the technology.