Junior Achievement’s Digital Focus to Drive Lasting Financial Literacy Results

by | 07/04/14 | Commentary, Uncategorized

The global financial literacy community is enthusiastically welcoming the move by Junior Achievement to embrace the latest technologies and digitize its solutions in a five-year, multi-million dollar initiative to optimize its program outcomes in financial literacy and other core areas of focus.

In a broad effort to address the fact that students access information in ways that are different in today’s fast-moving 24-our society, Junior Achievement (JA) is developing and launching the JA Education Gateway, which is designed as a wide-ranging program that combines JA’s time-tested volunteer-based delivery model with the latest technologies to provide a blended learning approach that reaches recipients in the most relevant and responsive manner.

The underlying rationales for the JA Education Gateway are consistent with a wide range of research establishing the benefits of the blended learning approach. Specifically, a meta-study conducted by the United States Department of Education shows that blended learning is more effective than online-only learning models, particularly with respect to at-risk populations. Blended learning also is in significant demand, with greater than fifty percent of U.S. states now offering full-time online or virtual schools. Moreover, five states mandate that high school students must take one or more online courses.

JA’s focus on the better use of technology will help ensure that the organization can roll out a more expansive scope of information, tools and resources to both instructors and students. Where JA volunteers historically brought heaps of printed materials into classrooms and other teaching environments, the JA Education Gateway program will now offer much of that content digitally. Similarly, videos and teleconferencing will enable students to connect with and learn from speakers and experts who might not otherwise be able to participate in an in-person format. Smartphone apps also are a key part of this new JA approach and these apps will enable students to learn about and manage various aspects of their personal financial affairs.

Financial education advocates also are elated about the extent to which this new technology and digital approach by JA will facilitate the infiltration of financial literacy solutions into geographic areas that might not otherwise have access to financial education programs. Specifically, webinars, teleconferences and online tools and resources are available to anyone with internet access or a smartphone, without the need for traditional in-person classes.

As the world's largest organization dedicated to educating students about topics such as financial literacy, JA is very well positioned to become a global leader in the use of technology to deliver financial education solutions. As a result, the financial literacy industry is very supportive of the organization in its efforts and highly optimistic about the lasting impact that JA’s technology and digital focus will have for financial education in the months and years ahead.

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