How To Get Students Excited About Personal Finance
Most people struggle to get interested in learning about personal finance. For high school students, in particular, lessons on finance can feel alien, and unrelated to their lives. In fact, it may very well be.
And yet, finances will play an important role in every adult’s life. Entering adulthood with background knowledge not only helps people avoid mistakes, but it can also equip them with the knowledge they need to make decisions that will set them up for a lifetime of financial success. The question is: how do you get students excited about personal finance on an eLearning platform? In this article, we look at tips that will help your students succeed.
Tips To Interest Students In eLearning Courses
1. Context Is Key
The majority of college students get their degree without obtaining any practical knowledge on how to handle their personal finances. Not only does this disadvantage them when it comes to realizing their full business potential—a person is most likely to start and succeed with their own business in their twenties—but it also leaves them ill-prepared to start paying off their college loans.
Few college graduates realize the value of financial fluency until it is already too late. By emphasizing the importance of financial literacy and communicating the benefits, you increase the chances of having an audience of highly engaged students.
2. Mixed Media
Keep in mind that your class will consist of many different kinds of learners. On eLearning platforms, it is very easy to overload on independent reading, with the occasional community posting or video lecture to fill out the class. Diversity is key.
If you only teach one way on an eLearning platform, you will automatically lose a section of your audience. If you teach primarily with independent reading, you will lose students who learn through listening. If you only do lectures, you will lose your visual learners, etc.
Mix things up. Personal finance is going to be a natural turnoff to many students already. Present the information to them exclusively in a format they aren’t comfortable with, and your chances of reaching them drop to zero.
Gamification is an incentivizing strategy that uses games to motivate behavior. Games naturally compliment the way most human brains are motivated, providing regular rewards that not only keep students engaged, but also motivate them to continue to do better.
Gamification can have a significant benefit when it comes to teaching subjects, like personal finance, that students may otherwise be resistant to. There are many online learning programs available that use games to teach lessons about money. OnGuardOnline is a government-sponsored game that teaches teenagers and college students about how to responsibly handle their personal finances.
Simulations are an effective way to teach concepts that can otherwise feel too abstract. By making your students live off simulated budgets, you not only help to keep them more engaged, but you also improve their ability to make good financial planning decisions that can set them up for financial responsibility later in life.
For example, consider giving your students an “income” (a simulated salary from which they can form the rest of their budget). Using this income, have them choose an apartment and car that is available online in your area. From there, you can get as in-depth as you like in how you deduct expenses. This can include anything from insurance and loan payments to incidentals like a blown tire or a leaky pipe. Not only do simulations make the lesson plan more interesting, but they also give your students a concrete understanding of what it is like to have a budget and incur adult-like expenses.
5. Teach Your Students About Investing
Investment scenarios are another way to introduce simulations into the classroom while also teaching students a valuable skill that can pay off significantly as soon as they graduate college. To teach investing through simulations, have your students “select” stocks at the beginning of the term, and monitor the growth of their portfolios throughout the course of the term. This will teach them the sort of real-world influences that can play a role in how the market performs. It can also get them ready to make real investments when they graduate from college.
People in their twenties are uniquely well-positioned to make investments because the consequences tend to be less severe when they make mistakes. Because people in their twenties usually don’t have much cash to invest with, their losses are small, and any mistakes they make can be recovered throughout the course of their working life. When things do go as planned, they are also best positioned to benefit from compound interest. Stock portfolios grow at an average rate of approximately 10% annually, which means that the longer they stay in the market, the more money they will ultimately get out of it.
6. Use Current Events
Tying current events into finance lessons is a good way to make them feel more real for your students. For example, if your students have cars, they are well aware of the fact that gas prices are reaching record highs all across the country. Using gas prices, or inflation, to formulate lesson plans is a good way to ground financial lesson plans in a way that your students can already relate to. From there, you can discuss many things, including both what causes inflation and how it impacts individuals’ personal spending power.