Share Your Abilities With Others
tldr; I am looking for people willing to contribute to skills tests about any subject they are knowledgeable about and interested in on my new, fun and free education community platform: http://taughtful.com -- If you're familiar with Smarterer which got acquired by Pluralsight and merged into their behemoth of a company, you'll have a general idea of what I am trying to accomplish. I want to take what they built and bring it to the next level. If you haven't heard of Smarterer, it is no matter; if you keep reading, I will explain everything in plain english.
I just launched my platform into beta called Taughtful (http://taughtful.com) with the initial primary goal of disrupting both the public education systems and the recruiting processes regarding careers and jobs. Taughtful can be described as a crowd-sourced skills testing platform that lets you create and take tests for virtually any skill. Tests get smarter over time. Use your test results to show off, learn or to land your dream job. There are much more plans for it in the future.
I've been designing and researching this specific platform for the last 2 years and have finally built the MVP (minimum viable product) and launched it on my 32nd birthday, March 15th, 2017 -- Happy Birthday me! Education has also been a huge point of concern for me over the years and I would love to explain to you what I am doing. If this seems interesting to you, please keep reading. :)
Taughtful to me, means "thoughtful learning"
## WHY TAUGHTFUL?
Currently I am blessed to have a great job, working from home making a six-figure income with full benefits, but it wasn't always that way. I grew up in a small, rural town called Warrenton in the State of Oregon in the United State of America. Long-story short, I was a self-taught nerd that spent a lot of time playing with computers and technology and became extremely proficient; however, living in a small coastal town such as that, the only jobs available were low-paying service, retail, logging and fishing jobs.
I did not have the opportunity to go to college, nor did I feel that college was right for me, since I was able to teach myself nearly anything that I was interested in learning. Thanks Google! It took me several years of struggling through terrible, nearly minimum-wage jobs, while supporting my wife and 3 kids, to finally get recognized by a contracting opportunity at Intel. My friend worked there and he had referred me to the position. I was there for 11 months and ended up going on to do bigger and better things and eventually ended up at one of the largest communications companies in the world as one of their top DevOps engineers. This was because I had Intel on my resume; while I didn't directly work for Intel, recruiters and hiring managers still took it seriously that I had it on my resume.
Through my experience, I have learned a great deal about how really irrelevant the public education system is as well as accolades and credentials on a piece of paper; this is precisely the reason I have built Taughtful.
I believe that education (or the spread of knowledge for that matter) should go back to how it used to work, people coaching each-other, with mutual benefits and no "teachers". I put teachers in quotes, and I say this with the utmost respect (I am currently partnered with many, amazing teachers who are helping us build this platform); I believe that today's model of a teacher is someone who teaches you how to think instead of someone who helps you learn how to learn. I believe a coach is someone who helps you to identify your personal goals and support you in working toward them. This is currently how I raise my kids and I do my best not to impose my expectations upon them, but to help them to identify who they really are and work toward that.
Full-transparency is also my #1 priority with everything, that is why my company is dedicated to including the Taughtful community in any and all decisions which directly impact them. This means you. In order for us to do this, all I ask is that you are extremely generous with your feedback, even if it is negative! I want to hear it all so I know what to improve.
I also believe that the barrier-to-entry for access to knowledge should be very low, if not free. That is why every test (all content on the website, actually) which is *currently* being developed on Taughtful is and always will be 100% free! That is not to say that in the future, I won't allow people to create new, private tests and charge for those, but more on that later. I will always allow the ability for users to create free and public tests, while at the same time imploring all community members to share their knowledge with all.
## HOW DOES IT WORK?
I want to start by first, crowd-source the credentials; basically, the more people that take the test that you take, help to increase the validity of the test, thereby increasing the possibility of you landing the career that you desire, especially if you rank in the top percentiles of overall test-takers for that particular test.
Essentially the platform allows anyone to create tests for any imaginable skill, or add more questions to existing tests. There is machine-learning (Artificial Intelligence) behind the scenes which helps to make the tests smarter as more people take the tests.
When a test is first created and has enough questions, it enters into an incubation period. During that time, people are allowed to take the test to help incubate it, but the scores during that incubation period have no bearing on their account whatsoever. Once enough people have taken the test, the test will mature and be available for people to take it officially, thereby generating an actual test score that counts.
While you are taking the test, after you answer each question, you have the opportunity to up-vote or down-vote questions as well as provide your feedback about that particular question. After the test you then have the opportunity to pick any question you answered and join an on-going community discussion centered around that question and how to improve it. The system also tracks how many people got that question correct/incorrect as well as how long on average it takes for people to answer that question. The system is constantly adjusting the difficulty rating and weight of each question in the background, every time someone answers the question.
Other current functionality includes the ability for community members to compete and become "Test Champions". When a person is a Test Champion, their profile (bio/photo/website) is branded across the front-page of all tests in which they are a champion.
## WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
There is an entire laundry list of things to implement and I am sharing that information publicly on our issue tracker: http://gitlab.dynamictivity.com/taughtful/taughtful-app/issues
Some of our immediate and more notable plans include the following:
- "Courses and Lessons" -- these will allow people to create courses for any subject which they are knowledgeable about and I do have plans to allow people to charge others to take their courses in the near future. I like to think about this in the context of Pinterest: Imagine going to Pinterest, seeing that awesome pallet shelf that you want to build, when you click on the Pinterest item description it has a link to the Taughtful course on how to build it.
- "Quizzes" -- these will allow people to create quizzes where at the end it makes a determination based on how the questions were answered. Silly example: "What kind of superhero are you?"
- "Sponsored Tests" -- these will be special tests which are (optionally) private; however, they will be created by paying sponsors who want to either monetize their tests, or they want to integrate the Taughtful platform into their existing education services which are external to Taugthful. Sponsored tests will also have access to special controls on the tests which public tests will not have access to; such as increasing the number of question options per question, adjustable question time-outs, white-label/branded tests, etc.
- "Developer API" -- this API will expose every aspect of the Taughtful platform using REST API's and enable developers to create tools, services and applications which are built on-top of Taughtful, or to integrate with external tools, services and applications. This will also include the ability to support SSO as well as oAuth. Not to mention an oAuth provider service.
- "Public Scorecards" -- your scorecard will represent your overall skill level across all mature tests you have taken. I will also offer a short-link that you can include on your resume or job applications so your prospective connection can easily access your scorecard. In addition, you will also have the ability to share and show-off your scorecard across any and all social networks.
- "Badges and Achievements" -- When you take tests you will receive a badge based on how well you did; you can then elect to have this badge visible on your public scorecard for prospective employers and connections to see.
Down the line, I want to partner with recruiters and organizations which are actively hiring; when you take a test you will then be able to elect to automatically apply for positions which you qualify for.
Another cool feature will be "metaskills". Metaskills is what I call career profiling. When you take enough tests on Taughtful, I want it to be able to tell you what % of a doctor, electrician, engineer, etc you are so you know what skills you need to focus on to become the person you want to be.
## WHAT DO YOU NEED FROM ME?
I request that you please go to http://taughtful.com and check it out. If you have a thought, please click the feedback button and let me know! If you are knowledgeable about a particular subject, please create an account and start a new test. If you see a test that you want to take, which is either mature or incubating, please feel free to click on "Start Test".
Lastly, I want you to achieve your dreams and to let me know how I can further enable you to do that.
## INVESTMENT & CO-FOUNDER OPPORTUNITIES
It goes without saying that yes, this is a start-up company. I am trying to find a repeatable business model which generates revenue. In the current world we live in, in order to both support my family and this platform I require funds. I would like to be able to focus on Taughtful, as well as the rest of my company, Dynamictivity -- full-time. If this is something that sounds interesting to you, or you would like to discuss investing in my company, you can find me on LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/travisrowland
Thank you for taking the time to hear me out about my dreams and my passions. Taughtful is only one small part of it. I wish you all the best of luck in achieving your dreams as I am getting closer to right now. I can't wait to hear your stories about how Taughtful helped you land your dream opportunity!
Taughtful Co-Founder and CEO