Have you ever noticed how you know the lyrics of a song that you haven’t explicitly tried to learn? Or how you sometimes cannot explain to someone how you’ve gained a certain skill because… Well, you are not even sure yourself.
The magic phrase: Implicit learning
Implicit learning is broadly defined as “the learning of complex information in an incidental manner, without awareness of what has been learned”. It happens without the learner consciously concentrating their attention on gaining new knowledge or developing new skills.
And while psychology still explores the controversy of the matter, Dentacoin Foundation’s research platform DentaVox has already been imperceptibly educating users on oral health topics for almost 3 years.
Despite their main focus being answering diligently and getting rewarded for their honest opinion, users unconsciously gain knowledge about dental problems and treatments, good and bad oral hygiene habits, new developments in the field, and more. And they only realize this after a while:
How does it work? Let’s take a look at the basic two pillars allowing implicit learning while taking surveys.
The art of asking questions
We often perceive questions as a tool to solely request information with. However, questions can also provide information if asked in a particular manner. For example, notice the obvious difference between: “Do you know someone with fixed dentures?” and “Do you know someone with fixed dentures – a type of dentures screwed on dental implants?”
DentaVox applies this and numerous other smart tactics to create questions that still serve their main purpose while also imperceptibly enriching the knowledge of surveyed people.
Each question on DentaVox is deliberately designed to ensure:
- Informed answers. If a specific, non-popular term is used in a survey, it is explained with a tooltip and sometimes an image. The purpose is to make the topic clear to all individuals, regardless of their preliminary knowledge base.
- Unbiased answers. When reading the questions, users are never pointed to answering in a certain way. A great effort is put in writing neutral questions and answers, as well as in using properly weighted answer scales.
- Implicit learning. While grasping the question, the answers, and the tooltips, users receive knowledge on the topic without explicitly asking for it. As every survey topic is thoroughly covered, this newly received knowledge is strengthened by looking at the matter from different perspectives. DentaVox questionnaires make users think about topics they would otherwise never or very rarely do, thus raising their awareness on a great variety of important oral health matters.
Non-exam, gamified environment
Receiving knowledge we are obliged to is often perceived as an unpleasant task that someone else forced us to engage with. That’s where the power of gamification steps in. On DentaVox, the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts helps bring oral health awareness to an entirely new level.
The most important gamification mechanisms applied to DentaVox are:
- Rewards. Users are incentivized with Dentacoin (DCN) tokens to answer surveys and daily polls on dental topics. The amount corresponds to the time and effort they have put into answering. Rewards are also available for referrals to further stimulate community building.
- No right or wrong answers. To distance from the typical exam environment, all DentaVox questionnaires are designed to help respondents share their honest, personal opinion on the matter. Even when the question is about agreeing or disagreeing with a certain statement, users are not shown the experts’ opinions. Thus, they are fully focused on digging into their own experiences and perceptions and reflect those in their answers.
- Penalties. Users who do not take the surveys seriously and, for example, rush through the questions or answer inconsistently, are penalized with temporary bans and lose the collected rewards from the respective survey. This mechanism is used not only to bring the experience even closer to gaming, but to also ensure a high level of concentration and genuine answers, that are later aggregated in trustworthy market research reports.
In the months to come, Dentacoin Foundation plans on implementing user levels to boost engagement on DentaVox even further.
Planting the seeds of long-term knowledge requires constant and proactive participation. DentaVox serves as an example for applying the art of asking questions and multiple gamification mechanisms to engage users in implicit learning on oral health matters. And all this without losing out of sight its main purpose: to generate trustworthy dental market research reports using the power of blockchain.