#5 Key Takeaways from Context Readings and Activities

What are your key takeaways from the framing context readings and activities and how are they informing your thinking about your project?

This was a week of coalescing and reflection for our team in considering financial literacy. From performing secondary research, coding the data and performing various synthesis activities we were able to identify a number of findings.

Stakeholder Hopes & Fears

In mapping our stakeholders relationships we were able to find that our undergraduate and graduate stakeholders had motivations for financial independence on both an economic and social level. This is then pushed against by psychological barriers to even consider finances given the vastness of the topic. All of this is happening within the push and pull of attentions and values within academics.

Post-secondary faculty and staff certainly are motivated to help out their students move toward their goals while leading a healthy lifestyle. That being said, depending on their actual position, some members may feel uncomfortable talking about the topic of finances with students. While finances is a subject that effects everyone, for faculty not specifically trained in finances, there is also a fear in giving the wrong advice to students.

All of the stakeholders want to ensure that these students complete their educations and gain successful employment after graduation. Where they may differ though is in what some of the other primary goals if education are.

Stakeholder map with key points emphasized.

Learning Gaps Analysis

From mapping our stakeholders current state and preferred state with regards to financial literacy we were able to identify multiple ways to reach these preferred states as well as the types of issues that would need to be addressed. Overall we found that students were facing a knowledge gap in many financial topics. These students also lack experience (skill) managing finances which is then compounded by existing in an environment that rarely ever discusses finances. When finances are brought up by the university, the communications are often confusing and not tailored for the target student audience.

In our preferred state we aim to address these issues and potentially reinforce them with habit forming and a shift in cultural values to make finance an easier topic to approach.

A slide identifying our key current state issues as well as preferred state attributes.

4MAT Learning Cycle

From performing and synthesizing our 4MAT activity we were able to brainstorm a number of ways to abstractly apply this and then later solidify them into more concrete measures. We believe we can motivate our learners by showing them how they can live a better life and avoid issues by learning and practicing financial literacy. When learning it will be important for students to get exposure to budgeting, investing, saving, credit, and taxes among many other topics. While this list is not exhaustive we recognize that we may need to narrow the focus of our education at a later date. Many of the tasks related to these topics will need to be practiced in order to build a baseline of skill. Upon learning these skills the goal would then be for learners to continue growing their practice and hopefully increase the amount of capital/assets that they are handling.

The inner circle for the 4MAT learning cycle as well as the key themes identified.

Once our team had established this as our presumed learning cycle then we began brainstorming and mapping ways that this could manifest. After this we synthesized our notes and found four potential modes of educating users. These four were to run a simulation, a mentorship program, an educational game and finally the opportunity to practice with actually allocated funds. Each of these led themselves more or less strongly to different parts of the learning cycle.

Our teams four identified educational plans with the corresponding quadrants they support.

Reflections & Next Steps

The process of synthesizing this data helped to shape our ideas into maturity. While we had previously had inclings of the ways that we may affect this problem space, the process of coding our secondary research and finding commonalities left us feeling more confident in our proposed design. As these proposed designs are currently only supported by secondary research, our next goal will be to perform primary research ourselves and look further into the primary research of others to avoid unnecessary overlap.

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