Usage of Tokens in E-Learning Part 2 – Utilization

Published by Marianne Poser on

This is the final part of two articles about the usage of tokens in e-learning.

It is one thing to earn tokens, but it is also important to know how a user can spend them. That’s why we look into how users can utilize their earned tokens. If you have missed the first part on how to earn tokens, you can find it here.

There are many possibilities for the use of tokens:

  • Tokens as Verification
  • Voting
  • Donation
  • Bets and Staking

Tokens can correspond to a material value on the platform. Tokens can correspond to a material value on the platform. Thus, they can be used to purchase learning content or to get a discount. It can also be used to track the learning progress and control the user’s learning journey in which users must first pass a certain part within a course before they can unlock the next one with the tokens they received. In addition, access to an advanced course could only be unlocked once sufficient tokens have been collected in the basic courses. It is important to find a good balance so that advanced users do not have to spend too much time on basics (which they already know). A solution could be a placement test where enough tokens can be collected to directly unlock more in-depth content. Besides controlling the access to core content of the platform, tokens could also be used for access to additional material or games.

If the tokens are to be used for valuable rewards, special attention must be paid to the security aspects when obtaining the tokens. The more valuable a token is the greater the temptation to obtain it by unlawful methods.

Another problem could be motivation. If the token is too valuable, it could replace the intrinsic motivation to learn by an extrinsic reward.

From a technical perspective, the number of blockchain transactions should be considered when using the token. Especially on the main networks, high transaction fees can accrue to the user or the platform operator.

In addition to access to core content or additional content, tokens could also be used to unlock additional settings options. This refers to the design settings on the interface as well as the profile design. A classic approach is also the design of an avatar, which can be made more elaborate the more tokens you use for it.

Token as Verification

Tokens can not only be used for additional content on the platform, but they can also be used as proof of learning achievement. The exact implementation can vary – in a very serious approach, the tokens are used to prove to (future) employers that one has dealt with certain topics. In this case, the tokens would have to be tied to courses or the history of receiving tokens would have to be presented. In this way, tokens could be used to proof the knowledge gained on the platform to third parties. This approach could be further developed to allow companies to use the platform to train their employees and monitor their progress.

In a different construct, tokens can also be used for gamification approaches, which are also based on representing success to third parties. These approaches include rankings as well as badges. While tokens do not have to be spent to enter a leaderboard, the competition created (between groups or all users) motivates users to collect more tokens. A leaderboard can be created repeatedly for new time periods (best of the month), as well as an Eternal Ranking of the Best.

Badges can be used as rank insignia. Only the badge associated with the current rank is displayed as a rank badge. A new rank could be reached by the number of tokens you own. On the other hand, badges can also be bought and collected in exchange for tokens. The user can display his collection on the profile and thus also his success. Different collections of badges can also be offered on a topic-specific basis. As another possible use of the blockchain, badges can also be NFTs.

Voting

A common topic in the blockchain world is voting on the blockchain. For example, on a learning platform, it is possible to vote on new topic proposals or decide whether a new course is of sufficiently good quality. Tokens can be used as ballots for both. This ensures that users who are new to the platform have fewer voting rights than users who have already collected a large number of tokens on the platform. The latter can place several tokens on a topic and thus also have more influence. How the exact voting system looks depends on the application and platform and the token model. It should also be taken into account that the token investment is not too high a hurdle for interaction in votes; after all, the platform operator also wants to get a picture of the mood.

A variation of this is to develop a beta tester program directly. For example, the top 10% of token holders of the platform could be selected to be the first to take and test a new course. Since they know the platform, their feedback is especially important. In turn, they could be rewarded with tokens for their feedback.

A reference point for the further development of a platform, in addition to suggestions for improvement from users, can also be their own topics and ideas for learning content. For this interaction with the platform, however, it seems to make more sense to reward them for it and not to have to use tokens for it. This could be realized in such a way that a small amount has to be used to publish a suggestion (spam filter). But the user has the chance to get much more tokens back if his idea receives positive feedback in the community. This can happen both through a lively discussion or a reaction in the form of emojis. This approach can go beyond a pure learning platform and has more of an eye on the community and its togetherness.

Donation

Tokens can also be used as donations at various points on the platform. For example, after taking a (free) course, users can be encouraged to make a token donation to the creator of the course. With this so-called retrospective funding, users know what they are using their tokens for, as they already know the quality of the course. Thus, users may be willing to donate more than they would have paid for a course that they were initially allowed to take for free. It is also an incentive for the creators to make their courses user-friendly, with the prospect of more donations.

A donation can also be made to new users. For example, one can vouch for a friend by donating tokens to them. The friend thus directly has more opportunities on the platform and possibly more power (see voting). The new user would also be higher up in the rankings and receive more attention from other users. This approach requires careful consideration to counteract fake accounts that vouch for themselves.

Tokens could be issued not only to new users, but also to users who struggle with their learning process. For this purpose, tokens could be converted into another token type of the platform (e.g., tutoring tokens). With these, users could take advantage of further offers of help from the platform or from other users and catch up with the better users.

Bets and Staking

Betting, just like voting, is an essential part of the whole blockchain world. This concept can also be adapted to a tokenized learning platform. Users can bet on their learning success, and creators can bet on the quality or timeliness of their content. In both cases, it should not be possible to bet on the counter-event, as this can be achieved much more easily on purpose. Users could therefore bet at the beginning of a quiz on the minimum percentage they will achieve. If they achieve this, they receive their tokens and an additional amount. If they fail, they have gambled away the tokens they invested. This approach increases the motivation and the fun factor of learning.

Course creators, on the other hand, can bet on whether a course will still be up to date in a year’s time after it has been published. Staking is a similar approach to content creation. Here, the creator must deposit a certain number of tokens when he has finished creating a course and wants to publish it. Staking is followed by an evaluation process in which a designated team or community votes on the quality of the course. If the course is accepted, the creator gets back his deposit. If the course is rejected, he loses it. Thus, a creator takes a certain risk with the publication of his course, which raises the overall quality of the platform and reduces the work load of the quality management. Another way of motivating content creators can be to let them share in the profit of the courses. So, they get shares in the course they created (instead of a salary) and then royalties in the form of tokens for their course. This can motivate both good and many courses to be created. It can also be more desirable for a creator to build a reputation to get users excited about themselves and their courses.

Conclusion

The ideas presented in this article are intended to represent only a part of the possible uses of tokens in e-learning. However, it can already be seen here that tokens are very well suited for various aspects of a platform. Whether as an in-game currency, incentive, motivation enhancer, or even as proof to third parties – the possibilities are numerous and are also reflected in the token standards that can be used. Thereby it is important to address the attack vectors associated with their use and to create well thought-out concepts before deploying contracts and putting tokens into circulation.

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