New trends such as broad mobile adoption, gamification, machine learning, big data, adaptive learning, social networks and system interoperability (APIs) create new opportunities to spread personalized knowledge in a way never before possible.
Imagine a world where every person connected to the internet has the knowledge to make healthy financial decisions. That is the world where I would like to live and through technology, innovation and hard work, I believe that world is achievable.
There is an opportunity right now to create an engaging “world class” financial health body of content that will be machine and human readable. (Machine readable for remixing by any software developer, game maker, learning management system, adaptive learning systems and publishers).
Unique Opportunity to Impact Hundreds of Millions
As a former coder, technology enthusiast and founder of several international technology companies, I believe I have a different perspective than those traditionally focused on financial health. There are many good people passionate about financial health and financial inclusion. I believe with a little help from the github crowd, the Academic and Non-Profit crowd can take financial health to a whole new level.
My role as a Founder and CEO of Lenddo has strongly influenced this opinion. The mission of the Lenddo community is to economically empower the middle class in developing countries. As part of my work at Lenddo, I have been able to meet dozens of financial experts, and review dozens of financial health training programs.
At Lenddo we believe knowledge about personal finance is critical to both health and happiness.
There is volumes of material related to personal finance, unfortunately this material is not geared for the “digital native”, especially in the emerging markets. If FarmVille can train 50 million people the benefits of milking a virtual cow, Why can't we as a society explain the benefits of saving?
Training and education is about to be transformed. My role as a Founder and Chairman at Mimeo has given me a front row seat into the latest training technologies.
Mimeo specializes in the management and distribution of documents. Mimeo has hundreds of employees thinking about training, as we derive much of our revenue from supporting the training process. When safety, productivity and profits are on the line, companies have proven themselves to be very innovative. I believe the these learning techniques have much broader applicability outside the corporate setting.
An Action Plan
Clearly there was a need to enable financial health and the team at Lenddo wanted to help.
Step 1 - Assemble Material
So the first thing we did, over the course of a year, was collect, organize and in some cases, license financial health content.
Step 2 - Benchmark & Reconcile
The second step was to distill the reams of content into its core “twitter” size summaries. The emerging middle class live on their smartphones, and long form content is not going to cut it. Digital natives need byte size, interactive components, delivered when needed and in a sharable format. We needed to think more like game designers and entertainers and less like educators and NGOs.
Much of the content was country specific, so we were careful not to include concepts that were not universal. The result produced 9 core elements.
We then reconciled the 9 core elements against discussions with financial health experts and educators. Equally important, we shared the summary with many individuals who demonstrated strong financial health. With all due respect to the numerous philanthropic experts we spoke with; I wanted to hear from some self-made millionaires also.
Step 3 - Simplify & Summarize
The result produced 9 core elements;
1. Only you are ultimately responsible for your Financial Fitness.
2. It is important to manage tradeoffs and avoid unnecessary waste
3. Set goals - Setting goals greatly increases the likelihood you will improve your finances
4. Track and budget - Understanding your finances reduces stress and improves decisions
5. There are benefits to deferring gratification and saving
6. There will always be risk, and diversification is one tool to manage risk
7. There is a difference between liquidity and assets as well as liabilities and expenses
8. Credit can be used to manage risk, liquidity or timing of investment
9. Assets can be Invested and work for you
The Next Steps – Go tech
The next step is to work with others to begin transforming financial health knowledge into machine compatible standards. This will drive innovation.
Portability - SCORM
The content should be portable, across systems and use cases. I believe we should standardize all content on SCORM, The Shareable Content Object Reference Model defines a specific way of constructing Learning Management Systems and training content so that they work well with other SCORM conformant systems. I have been impressed with the potential of SCORM, but would like to hear if others disagree.
Measurable and Extendable - Tin Can API
Facilitating interactive, adaptive, engaging and fun learning is critical. I believe we should standardize on the Tin Can API. Tin Can lets you record any learning experience, wherever and however it happens. Learning is happening everywhere, not just in traditional SCORM courses inside traditional LMSs. The Tin Can API gives you the ability to see the whole picture. It’s easy to make SCORM content work in a Tin Can system. The Tin Can API is community-driven, and free to implement. more at http://tincanapi.com/ The “noun” - “verb” - “object” framework will be old hat to any developer familiar with working with next generation no-SQL databases.
Go Mobile First – MoTIF
The future is mobile connected everywhere. We should promote MoTIF, Mobile Training Implementation Framework, supporting alternative learning methods (e.g., performance support); leveraging the capabilities of the mobile platform (e.g., camera, sensors, GPS) driven by Dod DARPA has done a great job figuring out how to teach solders just-in-time. Like the Internet itself, why not take that technology for the betterment of society? MoTIF seems like a good standard, but we welcome opinions from other developers.
Fragmented yet Organized
Content and functionality should be broken into its elemental units, but organized (tagged) using a standard taxonomy so developers can mix and match based on the audience, language, geography, situation and medium. More research and ideas are needed in this area. If you have ideas please send them our way.
How You Can Help
The next step is to get feedback from a wider group. Please share your thoughts directly with me or in the comment section below.
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Keywords: Financial Literacy, FinTech, Financial Education, Health, Financial Health