OpenStudy’s newest update, Catapult, is an effort to incentivize learning by giving students the opportunity to get paid for it. Through the website, students can set up simple learning goals like “get an A on this essay” or “finish my science fair project”. Friends and family can then pledge money towards those goals, and the student collects if the goal is reached.
OpenStudy has always been about polish, and it shows in how put-together this service is. Catapult is free to use, although OpenStudy and the payment system take a few percentage points for fees. A feature I especially like is the ability to post constant updates on your goals; if it looks like you’re doing well, or like you could use an extra push, your sponsors can donate extra money. Plus, making your goals known gives you extra accountability, which is another push to Get It Done.
Of course, I am not without my concerns. Offering money for studying has been effective in the past when it’s just between a student and their parents, or a similar setup, but I worry that adding it to a system like this may pull students away from the primary incentive of learning. There are already students who treat their final grades, and not the knowledge itself, as the end goal; this additional reward may push them in the wrong direction. It’s a minor concern, but one to keep an eye on nonetheless.
All things considered, I’m excited for this update. My parents gave me money when I was a kid if I made the grades, and I distinctly remember being ecstatic. OpenStudy has once again broke the mold with a feature that makes learning more fun and less of a hassle. If you’re a student, check it out, set up some goals, get knowledge, and get paid.