MADISON, Wis. (8/12/13)--The Filene Research Institute has released a documentary of its experiential learning colloquium held in January.
In partnership with National Credit Union Foundation and sponsored by CO-Op Financial Services, Filene hosted the colloquium at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library in Atlanta with an eye toward answering the question: How can credit unions use experiential learning to improve the lives of their members?
The colloquium explored the possibility of improving financial behavior by helping people learning through hands-on experience rather than through the traditional "linear" method of gathering information.
Sixth-grade teacher Tim Vandenberg explored how he uses the board game Monopoly as an learning tool in the classroom. Participants learn required math standards, while becoming emotionally involved in the game.
Lance Palmer, University of Georgia associate professor in the College of Consumer Science, described an initiative in which college students helped prepare and file tax returns as part of the Internal Revenue Service's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. The students also provided financial advice to tax filers.
"Tax time is a tremendous time to reach people," Palmer said. "Everybody has to file their taxes. With that, there is a tremendous opportunity to provide education in unique ways to help clients think differently about their future to get them out of the present mindset of 'How much am I going to get back and what can I buy with it?' to a future mindset of 'What can I do with that and build a better tomorrow for me and the people I love?'"
Ben Rogers, Filene Research Institute research director, discussed how credit unions can use gamification to facilitate financial literacy. He introduced a system that rewards members with simple positive feedback or "psychic rewards" if they meet savings or debt payment goals. "People respond to simple feedback," Rogers said. "The takeaway for credit unions is how can we encourage good behavior, like on-time payments, saving, accumulating wealth, with those reminders."
Lois Kitsch, National Credit Union Foundation national program director, described how credit unions use reality fairs to provide students with a hands-on learning experience. During reality fairs, students experience financial challenges similar to what they will face when they start life on their own. Students identify their career choice and starting salaries, then complete a budget sheet requiring them to live within their monthly salary while paying for basics such as housing, utilities, transportation, clothing and food.
To view the documentary, use the link.