Three years ago, my parents forced me to attend a one-hour financial literacy workshop at my high school. The teacher walked in and started droning on: “Today, we’ll learn about budgeting, saving and investing…” Most of my friends dozed off or started talking to each other – some were playing on their phones under the table.
Needless to say, I didn’t walk out of that class very interested in the world of finance. But what if it had been completely different?
Instead of delivering a monotone lecture, the teacher would walk in and say: “Today, we’ll go through bite-sized personal finance lessons. Each lesson has five quizzes at the end. If you answer the questions correctly, I’ll give you a few pineapples!”
One more lesson, a few more pineapples. It feels like a game! Now the teacher is keeping track of who is earning the most pineapples.
The students finish a dozen more lessons and have a whole stack of pineapples. They start comparing and competing with their friends to earn more. Sounds like fun, right?
But obviously, that’s not how financial education works today. Every year, credit unions invest millions of dollars sponsoring financial education in the classroom with the intention of building brand awareness among younger generations. But is it effective?
Financial concepts (401ks, IRAs, 519…) are so boring for young adults — to sit in a classroom and pay attention to a lecture for hours is practically impossible! I know this because I was one of them, just a few years ago.
When I got to Duke University, a couple of friends and I decided to tackle this problem with one of our university’s world-renowned behavioral scientists. The solution we found? Gamification — a.k.a. pineapples.
First, we built the learning experience on a mobile app for smartphones, where Gen Z spends most of its time.
Second, we broke down complicated financial concepts into bite-sized lessons to accommodate this generation’s short attention span and busy schedules.
Third, we embedded gamification where the user would earn points (in the form of pineapples) as they complete these lessons, and could redeem those pineapples for rewards such as gift cards and deposits from a credit union that sponsors their experience.
Since we launched Zogo six months ago, we’ve gained over 60,000 users who have completed more than 1,000,000 mini-lessons on the app — and earned, collectively, 160 million pineapples.
We’ve also partnered with more than 25 credit unions across the country to engage, attract and acquire the next generation of members — and deliver financial education more effectively.