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How gamification is improving kids’ financial literacy


A third of parents are worried about their kids’ financial literacy, but AI and gamification could help, according to new research.

The inaugural Future of Financial Learning Report by Kit – a kids’ money app built by Commonwealth Bank – found parents are embracing new technologies which could change how kids learn about money, with more than two-thirds of parents (69%) saying AI could improve kids’ financial literacy, and a further 8-in-10 saying gamification could enhance kids’ financial capability (78%).

“Gamification, which is applying game elements into learning, is proven to be really successful, as seen by Mathletics and Reading Eggs,” Yish Koh, Kit Managing Director told The Educator.

“There hasn’t, however, been anything to date that has extended this into financial literacy in Australia and that is why we have launched Kit Money Quests. Science shows that gamification works.”

Koh said when young people have an experience that is immersive, fun and they feel like they are owning it, it is more memorable, and they learn quicker and more effectively.

“That is why we wanted to gamify financial education in the Kit App.”

Fostering positive financial behaviour

Koh said schools have an important role to play in building young people’s knowledge base, as well as starting to introduce positive money behaviours.

“Kit plays a complementary role, because we are a conduit between parents and kids to spark positive money conversations. The Australian Curriculum is very much focused on financial literacy,” Koh said.

“We intend to complement, not replace the financial education that is provided through schools, by focusing on the learning through real experiences with money.”

In line with the findings of its Future of Financial Learning Report, the company recently launched Kit Money Quests, a new gamified learning feature includes quests that take place in the ‘Moneyverse’, a vibrant Quantum computing-inspired world with a smart money sidekick character called Kit, who takes kids on different quests – each designed to teach a new financial concept.

“When we released the Kit App in beta, we did so with a number of different stories and features that taught about specific financial concepts, and had a really good response from kids. We know that if we are creating an experience that is more gamified, we will further enhance kids’ motivation to want to complete more learning,” Koh said.

“As part of the Kit Money Quests, we are thoroughly invested in tying it back into the core app and directly into positive financial behaviours like setting and achieving a savings goal or ticking off those chores to learn about the true value of money. So, the Kit Money Quests are going to tie back into and foster positive financial behaviour.”

‘The building blocks of financial wellbeing’

Another organisation using gamification to boost kids’ money skills is Banqer, a simulated online banking program for schools that provides “a hands-on environment for kids to get curious, creative, and ultimately, confident with money.”

Since its inception in 2014, the company has evolved into a sophisticated simulated virtual economy for primary and secondary schools, helping more than 300,000 students take charge of their financial future.

Banqer’s co-CEO, Simon Brown said his own experience suggests that gamification is effective in both engaging young people in financial literacy and improving outcomes.

“This is because it reinforces the relevancy of what’s been taught to students while also putting in place the building blocks of financial wellbeing,” Brown told The Educator.

“Financial literacy can inherently be dry for students. Introducing gamification brings it to life. Students can see the clear link between what they’re learning and how they’re going to use those skills in later life [if not their everyday life already], as gamification lets them engage in those concepts in a real-world manner.”

Brown said gamification also lets students go beyond financial literacy, or the development of knowledge of financial concepts, allowing them to build financial capability, whereby they’re provided with the opportunity to develop skills and attitudes as they interact with personal finances in a practical sense.

“Together, financial literacy and capability form the building blocks of financial wellbeing.”

Brown said student feedback suggests they are “incredibly intrinsically motivated” to understand and engage in the real world, particularly around financial matters.

“I think intrinsic student motivation is driven by their perceptions of financial education relevancy. They appreciate these skills are going to be key in their growing confidence to financially engage in the real world,” he said.

“Schools can adapt their financial education programs to leverage the benefits of this approach by providing their students with as many opportunities as possible to engage with key financial concepts in a practical sense.”

Schools must be careful to strike the right balance

Ecstra, whose Talk Money program reached 105,972 student bookings across 3,096 workshops in 527 schools last year alone, has shown to help a significant proportion of schools in lower socio-economic areas (29%) and regional and rural locations (21%) improve their students’ financial literacy.

Ecstra CEO Caroline Stewart said using gamification techniques to engage young people in learning, including about money and finance has grown exponentially.

“Digital tools and setting scenarios that are relatable and enjoyable can help simplify complex concepts and inject interest into teaching personal finance,” Stewart told The Educator.

However, she notes there is a balance to be struck between using gamification with incentives and rewards with other methods of teaching financial education.

“This is especially important when it comes to real life financial decision making. The digital setting is a highly controlled environment and outcomes in a game may not reflect the real-world consequences of your personal financial situation,” she said.

“Gamification usually involves data collection which seeks to personalise the digital experience, but it also can collect valuable information regarding financial behaviours and preferences. This can raise privacy concerns for young people if not disclosed and managed properly.”

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