Blockchain studies have evolved in recent years and are now offered in multiple forums and by both corporations and academic institutions. One motivating factor for cooperation between corporate entities and academia for blockchain studies is that there is slow adoption of the technology on the academic side while the industrial side—particularly as it concerns the supply chain—is only accelerating its widespread development and innovation in technology. This creates a knowledge and skills gap within the blockchain space as the anticipated future need for specific technical skills, careers, and background knowledge would be expected to continue to widen over time. To help meet this need, it was important for the development of a coordinated effort between business & technology to collaborate with academia to address this gap so that both sides can share and combine knowledge.
Further, current offerings including online certificate programs provided by top universities and other online learning platforms, despite covering the basic foundational concepts, were lacking a key component of learning which includes the interactions between instructor and student. Due to the abstract nature of the blockchain subject, case studies and other real-life examples tend to provide hands-on applications and tested knowledge to collaborate and discuss more complex concepts including strategic alliances in academic literature and business models that demonstrate how this can be applied in multiple business disciplines including accounting, finance, supply chain management, and economics.
An example of this type of collaboration is noted with SIMBA Chain (“SIMplified Blockchain Application”), a technology firm that specializes in Blockchain business integration and Smart Contracts. SIMBA’s partnership, formed with several academic institutions, demonstrates the knowledge sharing community outlined in the Community of Practice model which can be updated to reflect a modification of the original model to demonstrate how blockchain studies are currently implemented within the academic community.
The collaboration between industry practitioners and academia creates the situated cognition learning model where the combination of multiple concepts are combined through the operation of a learning community versus being cultivated all from one source as Allan Collins studied in 1988. In situated cognition, the general premise is that learning cannot be abstracted from the situations in which it is learned and cannot be transferred or applied in school without some form of practical application. SIMBA’s Smart Contract Design (“SCD”) provides a simplified approach that can be easily applied in the classroom.
By using a combination of learning sources, including case studies and real-life examples of blockchain use within the business school coupled with the integration of corporate technology entities, in this case SIMBA Chain, creates a unique model in that the SCD software does not require a prerequisite of coding in order to learn and deploy smart contracting. This, in effect, levels the playing field to expand and cultivate knowledge of blockchain technology which is anticipated to accelerate the bridging of the knowledge gap leading to widespread adoption.