How can ESL agents use blockchain and ESL Coin to set their skills apart?
Web 1.0 was about the organization. Web 2.0 is about the community. Web 3.0 will be about the individual.
It will empower the individual by offering them the ability to solidify and utilize their identity, an asset that, to date, hasn’t been fully tapped into. As a result, individuals will be able to break free from organizations who have, so far, been the caretakers of their identities.
A secure digital identity yields the potential to forge a trustworthy link with someone you have never met. Just how much of an identity its owner wants to reveal will be under that owner’s control. Whether the interaction occurs online or offline, individuals can share as much or as little of their identity as they want with one another.
Some elements of this new controllable, shareable, and actionable identity include but are not limited to:
- Country ID Number
- Passport Number
- Police Record
- Access to Funds
- Medical Records
- Academic Achievements
- Employment History
The details of identities are verified by implementing blockchain technology, an emerging technology that will allow the world to trust and empower individuals’ digital identities, without sacrificing privacy. To learn how blockchain accomplishes this, please read this Guide for Beginners.
As individuals start trusting the technology—and thus, one another’s identities—many organizational responsibilities will become negligible. Along with a restructuring of roles related to Human Resource and Accounting departments, a reassessment of 3rd party mediators is also on the horizon.
The specific case of the English as a Second Language (ESL) agent offers an excellent example of how the intermediary industry could pivot successfully in the blockchain economy.
The ESL industry is currently an industry very much affected by the expected lack of trust that divides foreign cultures. Some obvious gaps in ESL networks include:
- ESL institutes and instructors do not know how to market efficiently to potential foreign English Language Learners (ELLs).
- ESL teachers do not know which foreign institutes to trust.
- ELLs do not know which domestic institutes or teachers to trust.
All of this uncertainty creates a reliance on 3rd party agents who have a foot in both cultures and can ease concerns of trust amongst the three main groups.
Because lack of trust is such a reliable point of leverage agencies have within the ESL industry, what will happen to these agencies when blockchain technology makes trust much easier to accept? The answer lies in the layered nature of trust itself.
The most superficial layer of trust includes:
- Government paperwork (visas, police records, accreditation)
- Overall quality of institute or teacher
- Student’s access to necessary funds
Through blockchain technology, this administrative outer layer of trust will be made readily accessible by all, forcing agencies to look deeper into the gaps of trust that still exist. These deeper layer gaps are harder to spot because they require insightful quantitative and qualitative analysis instead of routine procedure.
An ESL agent, whether contracted by an ELL, instructor or institute, will need to understand the performance metrics valuable to the industry. The most valuable metrics would revolve around achieving high exam scores. A chain of questions that an ESL agent might run though is:
ELL as Principal Client
- Which area(s) does my ELL client score poorly in?
- Which teachers or institutes could help the most in this area?
- Would my ELL client be able to afford the service?
Instructor as Principal Client
- Which area(s) does my instructor client improve scores the most with?
- Which ELLs or institutes need help improving in this area?
- Would my instructor client receive an acceptable salary or wage?
Institute as Principal Client
- Which area(s) does my institute client improve scores the most with?
- Which ELLs need help improving in this area?
- Would those ELLs be able to afford the institute?
- Which area(s) does my institute client wish to improve the most with?
- Which instructors could help improving this area?
- Would the instructors accept the pay rate at my institute principal?
With ELLs able to attach detailed exam scores to their digital identity, their needs analysis will become much clearer for ESL service providers. Language acquisition methodologies and tactics will become more directed and defined, at least as related to exam performance. The more an area becomes defined, the more that area is subdivided, becoming more accurate and need-specific.
Because the three most popular standardized ESL exams — TOEFL, TOEIC and IELTS — differ significantly in nature, schools and instructors could choose to specialize in one. Specialization will also be gauged according to the four language skills of: Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Effective specialization, backed by reliable data, will give all parties involved the confidence to work with one another, and it will be an agent’s job to optimize the matchmaking through their understanding of the available data.
As the value of linguistic performance data increases, new exams will likely be developed to compete with the existing ones while helping refine assessment overall. An ELL can have multiple exam scores connected to their blockchain identity, timestamped to show progress and diversified to indicate a collective overall level.
The skill of matchmaking, especially for a service as interpersonal as language learning, goes far beyond numbers. Understanding which types of personalities work well together can make a huge difference in the quality of service.
An agent who understands two cultures well will still hold great value, as nobody wants to waste time finding the right fit. Just because an ELL enjoys reading does not mean that they are a good fit for an instructor who enjoys reading. What authors do they enjoy? Do these authors overlap in style or genre? How real is their interest in reading?
These are qualitative questions that objective statistical measures have a difficult time calculating, so agents will continue to be needed to answer them. Artificial intelligence is not yet advanced enough, so someone has to provide a human touch.
Together or Alone?
A decision ESL agents must make is whether to work as an independent freelancer or as part of a bigger agency. This choice will likely be determined by each agent’s particular context.
If the agent is new to the industry, they will likely begin catering to up-and-coming instructors or ELLs on a budget. This could be done as a freelancer and serves as a means to build up a reputation.
For instance, if the agent has a strong reputation and a base clientele, perhaps they decide to freelance as a way to pay for the PhD they are working towards.
Conversely, if the agent wishes to collectively pool all their techniques, strategies, data and contacts with others’, they could form a highly accurate and potentially successful group agency.
Giant agencies such as VIP Kid, who already have tens of thousands of instructors and hundreds of thousands of ELLs, might face more competition, but their vast networks and brand name will give them a head start in implementing and taking advantage of blockchain technology. However, if they try to cut corners, there will be a large number of trusted smaller agents or agencies who will be proving their worth to ELLs, instructors and institutes.
ESL Coin’s Value to Agents and Agencies
Regardless if the agent flies solo or works on a team, our blockchain platform, ESL Coin, will offer a neutral means of communal data sharing, helping to maximize the industry’s potential through detailed analysis and efficient client engagement channels. The intense global demand for ESL services makes a shared database valuable to everyone, as keeping data from one another would choke a near limitless well of potential.
Agencies who wish to become part of the ESL Coin community in the beginning stages will receive grant funding in the form of ESL coins. This stake will allow them to influence the direction of the community through voting power in addition to financially benefiting from the future appreciation of ESL Coin’s market value.
There are numerous other ways ESL Coin can help set agents and agencies apart. Being a borderless currency, both money and time are saved, a singular edge in this very international market.
Additional time and energy is saved as ESL Coin employs a smart contract system which enables automatic percentage payouts as well as the facilitation of microcontract services.
The influence of blockchain applications and cryptocurrency on industries will be hard to ignore five years from now, especially international ones based on trust, like ESL. The agents who act first and with the greatest conviction will benefit the most when the tide turns.