Cardano education in 2021: the year of the pioneers
It was a busy time for the team at IOG – and the next 12 months look busier still
23 December 2021 5 mins read
2021 saw the launch of our Plutus Pioneer and Atala Pioneer programs. These interactive training courses aim to widen the reach of our education materials and have been completed by thousands of people.
The feedback we’ve received about the lectures, delivery, and support has been very positive and demonstrated a high level of commitment to learning. So we are planning some new programs in other disciplines for 2022 and more courses about both writing smart contracts in Plutus and the Atala digital identity software. DeFi – decentralized finance – aims to provide direct peer-to-peer financial transaction capability between individuals and companies, without central authorities.
How the programs were run
During these programs, participants attended weekly lectures delivered by Lars Brünjes, director of education at IOG, who also held weekly follow-up interactive Q&A sessions. People were supported by a thriving community in the Discord chat system that encouraged collaboration and problem-solving. These channels were moderated by the IOG education team, who were on hand to provide support. During the courses, Lars aimed to create a ‘we’re all in this together’ feeling and a ‘pioneer’ spirit, which was certainly evident across the dedicated channels in Discord.
The education team encouraged the enthusiasm and good will of the pioneers, so they helped and supported each other, creating a tightly-knit community in the process. In addition, we encouraged pioneers to help the next group and pass on their knowledge. The power of peer-to-peer learning cannot be underestimated.
When we launched the first Plutus Pioneer course in March, we were hoping for solid community support and engagement. We never envisaged that we would close out the year with more than 3,500 participants trained up on Plutus and Atala and ready to start building on Cardano.
We have now wrapped up the Atala Pioneer program, and are taking some time to reflect on the detailed feedback and how we can improve the experience further for the next cohorts.
Plutus has a steep learning curve, and it was still a bit rough around the edges, which worried me a bit in the beginning. But the enthusiasm and spirit of “we’re all in this together” I received from the community was overwhelming, making the course a tremendous success.
Outcomes of the courses
One of the most positive outcomes of these courses was the amazing community participation that we witnessed on Discord right from the start. The participants supported each other, published additional material that they worked on, were quick to report any issues, and got stuck in when it came to fixing bugs – they really were acting as true pioneers. Their assistance and testing efforts through the Alonzo testnet rollout were also highly beneficial.
We also saw a wide range of innovative materials and ideas from the courses, including new wallets, training materials, and new projects on Cardano.
This year also saw the start of a partnership with the European Business University of Luxembourg (EBU) in September. EBU is a renowned educational provider and non-profit organization dedicated to higher education and certificate programs.
This partnership is sponsored by the IOG education team and aims to make education more accessible in the African region. It will give a wealth of students access to educational material for free, while also supporting the IOG strategy in the region.
EBU launched its first Plutus and Haskell course in late September, and is wrapping up after a 10-week course that was well attended and received.
What is on the horizon in 2022?
We are currently planning for the third cohort of the Plutus Pioneer course, which we are launching in early January. Enrollment is now open, so please express your interest on our registration page and we will be in touch soon. In the meantime, we are updating the lectures and materials to bring them up to speed with developments and recent tooling updates in Plutus.
We have also held planning workshops with the Marlowe team. They are working on their first Marlowe Pioneer program early next year. Meanwhile, the Atala team will be moving into their second cycle in the near future.
Within the education team, we are also working on self-learning courses. Participants will be able to pick and choose the modules they want to complete and work at their own pace, rather than follow a weekly schedule.
The next big project we are planning is a Haskell course that will be delivered in Ghana. The aim is to train up 80 student developers in how to transform local industries using blockchain technology. Ghana is striding forward in terms of blockchain, and this course will add to the pool of Haskell and Plutus developers ready to build smart contracts and DeFi applications on Cardano.
Last but not least, we are planning some new publications in 2022, including an updated version of the Plutus ebook later in the year.