Here’s an illustration of a would-be financial educator who followed the NFEC’s recommended steps to create financial education courses to take advantage of best practices for development.
Carson works as an activities director at his local YMCA, coordinating a group of employees and volunteers who carry out community events. He’s heard from several group members who think there’s a need in the community for financial education. Carson felt that money management training would be a natural extension of the YMCA’s commitment to promoting fitness, so he decided to explore what it would take to start a financial literacy program effort. First, he needed to gather some key information about the audience and the topics they would find most beneficial.
Carson sent out a brief online survey to the YMCA membership, and discovered that many members had a strong interest in learning more about retirement planning.
The next step down the program development path was for Carson to focus the education on a manageable set of topics. Retirement planning was the overarching subject, but Carson perceived that the members would benefit most from a financial literacy class focus specifically on choosing between available retirement vehicles.
Carson’s next decision was who to select as an instructor for his live financial literacy events. He needed an educator with excellent presentation skills, relatability, and a strong knowledge base in the topic area of focus. Carson researched his community and found a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI) who had been qualified by the NFEC to teach financial education courses with maximum effectiveness.
Carson gathered detailed data from the 37 YMCA members who participated in the first round of workshops, so he could quantify how well the program worked using an evaluation toolkit. He learned that the average gain in knowledge about retirement planning was 23%, an excellent accomplishment for his first effort. Carson used these data to compile an attractive report which he distributed via email to the whole YMCA membership, to help draw more attendees to the next workshop series.
Choosing the right financial education course can increase retention rates, make the learning process fun and provide you (or loved ones) information that will benefit them throughout their lives. This article will give you tips on what you should look for when evaluating financial education courses and resources on where to get the material.
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Tips to Choosing Financial Education Courses
Most people have felt the effects financial uncertainty at some point in their life and most never have received a basic financial education. With the new generation of students having been raised with relatively lax financial habits, it’s important to educate our children on how to properly manage their money.In light of recent circumstances – educators, government official and concerned citizens are calling for an increase in financial education courses. The National Financial Educators Council commented, “The need to provide today’s youth with a practical financial literacy course before they graduate high school is of the utmost importance to the country.” There are a number of ways to teach money management lessons to our youth and still fit in with budget and time requirements. The lessons that students receive during a financial education course could benefit them and their loved ones for many years in the future. This article will provide practical tips so you can choose the financial education courses that work best for you.
The ‘it’ factor. Financial literacy is not rocket science. In reviewing national curriculum standards most of the material is pretty basic: savings, budgeting, investment knowledge, credit, debt, skill development, etc. The majority of the subjects are easier than most classes taught in high school. What really separates a good financial literacy course from a bad one is simply how it’s delivered.
When beginning your search look for material that would hold your audience’s attention. Programs aligned with national standards and have the ‘it’ factor will help you get through to the audience in a way that gets them motivated to continue the learning process.
Learning styles. Most teaching financial education agree with the studies that show experiential learning increases retention rates. It is important that your financial education course is hands-on, interactive and engaging. Experiential learning is learning through doing in contrast to the lecture and chalk board model.
When students are making decisions and learning about money through ‘safe’ trial and error those lessons will likely last long into the student’s adulthood. And of course this ‘safe’ trial and error method is much better than how most people learn about money – the school of hard knocks.
Look for financial education courses that get everyone involved. Programs that concurrently provide training for: teachers, parents, students and the community have a better chance at achieving long-term success. Furthermore, seek out programs that look for ways to collaborate with businesses, concerned citizens and government organizations. This type of collaboration can help you fund the course and build momentum for your program.
Personal Finance Program Delivery. With the limited amount of time most organizations have to teach financial literacy – delivery is especially important. It is suggested that when choosing a financial education course hat you preview the financial literacy curriculum to see the delivery style. Even go so far as to share this with some of the students to get their opinion.
The content within the coursework should be well organized, easy to navigate and give users a clear picture of each topic.
Also within the program delivery topic is consideration for how students like to learn. Would they prefer a live presentation or a software program? Maybe they prefer a class project or a game to mix up their typical classroom experience.
The family team. The coursework can be more effective if we are good models for the younger generations. Of course, parents are an important part of this dynamic and its important they use day-to-day living to teach their child about money.
Our kids, teens and young adults learn most effectively through following the lead of the people around them. Engage in responsible spending habits around your child and get them involved in the family finances. College students often find themselves broke because they didn’t learn about money at home and go off to college without taking a professional financial education course.
These simple tips should help you locate the program that can ensure your family’s financial security. These financial education courses do require effort on your part; however, you will discover that the future benefits outweigh any of the short-term investment of your energy.