Online Education sector is quickly growing as people in the developing world are gaining access to technologies. Online education market was worth over $150 billion in 2016. Yet, there are many problems associated with the sector. Websites that offer educational services have trouble retaining the users. People are often easily demotivated when it comes to online courses and might give up on the program in a month or two. Tutellus, a platform built on NEM, is a decentralized EdTech platform that offers solutions to several problems associated with online education.
One of the main issues that the project targets are the wrong remuneration methods that disincentivize teachers and students to be productive. A STUT token is used to motivate students and teachers alike. Those that are more involved with the platform, that spend more time and use more resources are given more tokens. Thus, the tokens act as both the measure of involvement of a user and a bonus system. Ways to earn STUT tokens include asking relevant questions during the courses, answering other students’ questions, passing exams and so on.
STUT tokens are not convertible to fiat. Instead, they can be exchanged for another token in the system called the TUT token (up to 50% of STUT tokens earned in a course can be converted to TUT tokens). These can be traded for fiat money. TUT tokens are also used to purchase courses, pay teachers and so on. They act as a currency in the system. TUT tokens trade at the prices established by the market. STUT tokens, on the other hand, have a fixed value of 0,01 euros.
Tutellus also aims to solve the teacher incentive problem. On current platforms, productive and less productive teachers are paid almost the same. This demotivates them to be more effective and improve their quality. Tutellus, on the other hand, pays more to those teachers who are able to engage students better. In addition, if a student is able to find employment within the system, part of the service fee paid by the employee is allocated to the teacher. The platform also prides itself on being able to pay the teachers’ salaries instantly, something that has not been accomplished by modern EdTech companies.
The platform has an internal loyalty system that rewards 5-10% of the course price in TUT tokens to those students who enroll in the course. This program is designed to increase customer retention and engagement.
Will Tutellus be able to compete with current platforms?
Tutellus claims to be completely decentralized, yet there is an uncertainty when it comes to fee allocation. Employers looking to find suitable candidates on the platform pay a certain fee. 50% of this fee is allocated to Tutellus, as the whitepaper mentions. It is unclear where these funds go exactly. Additionally, although the website claims that it has a solution for people in the developing world who can not afford online education, it is unclear how the company will go about this problem. There is a fee for courses just like on any other website. The STUT coins that students receive as bonuses, half of which can be converted to money, are not going to be enough to alleviate the costs for those who can’t afford the courses.
If the company, in fact, finds a way to make courses more affordable, as there are teachers who need to be paid, that cost will have to be borne by someone in the system. If that happens to be the employers, then the services might not be competitive with other job-search platforms. Employers will likely prefer cheaper and more established ways to find talent.
The bonus system that rewards teachers and students by involvement is a true innovation and could be a differentiating factor for the platform’s services. Additionally, the student and teacher base that the company has already acquired, will make it feasible to at least launch the platform and try out the new approach on the market.