Okay this started as an idea for a Facebook group but then the idea just grew. So the basic notion is this: Everyone with knowledge can teach those without that knowledge and teaching also reinforces understanding. Those who learn something also go on to contribute to the to the community somehow be it by teaching others or by trading their services to others. So why not have an app where one could a) Advertise what one knows and what one wishes to learn. b) search for others that match one’s needs be they students or mentors c) gain reputation from the demonstratable skill of their students. It’s that last part I want to really talk about.
Okay so let’s say you have Albert, Bob and Charley. Albert knows how to play guitar. Bob wants to learn how to play guitar so he searches the site and finds Albert who freely agrees to teach him. After the lessons it is assumed Bob will know how to play guitar, or at least have improved in his skill in playing guitar right? So how Albert gains reputation is if Bob can demonstrate his skill, or teach Charlie, who also doesn’t know how to play guitar, what he has just learned. So say Albert teaches Bob how to play House of the Rising Sun. Bob then should be able to play House of the Rising Sun for Charlie and hopefully teach him how indeed to play it. He should also be able to teach him notes and fingering on the guitar and how to tune it. If Bob has successfully comprehends Albert’s lessons this means Albert is a good teacher and should gain possitive reputation. If Bob does not understand Albert’s lessons or does not contribute back to the community then this means Albert did not produce good lessons or selected his students poorly. This means teachers will be inclined not to help students that don’t contribute back into the network. Which means the best way to attract teachers/mentors is to make one’s own lessons of what one does know.
From a student’s standpoint they want teachers that have good reputation because they want good high quality lessons. From a teacher’s standpoint they want student’s that will take whatever skill they are taught and put it back into the community because that’s how they demonstrate their skills and how the teacher gains reputation.
Now you’re next thought is “Why should person a gain reputation for the acts of person b?” Well I agree everyone should gain a certain amount of reputation for their own acts but I also think that teachers should gain, or possibly lose reputation, for the success or failure of their students. If you can’t teach well and to a wide variety of people that doesn’t reflect very well on your understanding of the material. Also as I explained above this would create a cyclical reward and punishment for selecting students that would keep returning knowledge back into the network and thus promoting the community as a whole. If teachers aren’t held responsible for the acts of their students then students can just take whatever knowledge they learn and disappear never to be heard from again.
One could make articles, MOOCs, videos, podcasts, whatever, just so long as it’s instructing people on how to do stuff. And I’m not assuming every piece of information is going to be set up in a 1:1 mentor/apprenticeship relationship, there could be some kind of voting system set up for static content. But the same kind of reputation system would apply for said static content as well. You put out good content the person that taught you gets a portion, if not all, the credit. This means you get more reputation in showing how many people you’ve taught and how well they understand the material than for what you’ve actually produced yourself. It doesn’t really mater how well to do you are or how much you may know if no one understands you, or worse yet is so bored to tears with you they don’t want to listen to a thing you say and doesn’t take whatever they may learn from you and help others.
All this information needs to be well organized, searchable, indexed, hashtaged, and crossreferenced. In short people need to be able to quickly find who and what they want learn. They also need to be able to have different options as to how they want to learn it. Be it kinetically, visually, verbally, or whatever. People learn in different ways and that’s another advantage to having a setup like this. Competition of different teaching methods. 100 people might teach the exact same thing but explain it in totally different ways and only one of them makes sense to some poor shmuck with a learning disability or something.
In addition with all this it could be integrated with scientific and medical databases so people could do scientific and medical studies and share their data much the same way. As you learn things you teach others. And if you’re interested in learning science or medicine you get taught by a professional in the industry or something and have a real conversation. Wouldn’t that be something useful for the scientific community?
Same could be said for any academic interest for that matter.