Latin America at the forefront of financial education through video games

Faced with an environment of economic pessimism in the region, financial education is more important than ever in Latin America. The need to reduce poverty, the difficulties in accessing the banking system and financial services as a risk for the least favored, become a challenge for financial institutions and governments.

Taking into account that digital content and technology open up new possibilities to access knowledge, video game developers and private companies have come together to rethink the future of Latin America; through innovative tools such as videogames that can reach more people and more effectively.

Asobancaria’s latest report on financial education  (2016) shows that banking entities have developed strategies to advance financial literacy, however, the coverage of their programs has not been sufficient.

But why is it important? ” Economic and financial education is vital for the development of an economy that seeks to be sustainable, responsible, and informed in the search and achievement of new growth opportunities.” This is how Asobancaria describes it, which promotes efforts in this regard through its ” Know more, be more ” program.

Are people educated when they enter the financial system? Or even, is it the reason why there is no interest in entering the banking system? Learning to save, keep track of income and expenses, know the products of financial institutions and acquire them with the appropriate information, are skills that allow people to make the right decisions that will influence both the economic and social development of the countries. as in individual well-being.

Video games as effective channels to educate

Integrating video games into education can be more effective in generating behavior change. “There are empirical studies that show that the best way to learn is to put into practice what has been learned and, in addition to providing a fun and entertaining learning model, video games offer this opportunity to ensure effective training”, says Ana Pantelic, PhD and Director of Business Development and Associations of the organization Fundación Capital

As Pantelic explains, financial education was perceived years ago as an academic, personal and unattractive subject, however, new technologies allow to present content that is easier to understand, with games and videos that integrate real situations of daily life. These features spark conversations between families and attract users’ attention. In this sense, it can be very useful in financial education for children , since, as well as memorizing information about their favorite characters and stories, they can learn in a fun and casual way about economic aspects of their life.

For his part, Juan Nates, CEO of Colombia Games , a video game and app development company , affirms that in the last three years there has been a growth in the demand for educational video games for multiple purposes, ranging from educating in values ​​and ethics to inside companies, even educating children about indigenous communities.

Success stories in Latin America

In 2016, the Inter-American Development Bank -BID- and its organization Graduate XXI published a report with the innovations and trends that unite education and technology in Latin America. Among the trends, the gamification of education stands out,  which consists of merging learning with the logic of video games .

Among the innovations is Yogome , a Mexican company that develops mini educational games. It recently received an investment of $ 6 million from the Spanish fund Seaya Ventures and $ 600,000 from Variv Capital and Endeavor Catalyst. Its founders Manolo Díaz and Alberto Colín, seek to hook children with stories of superheroes while enhancing their abilities so that parents trust the product. 95 percent of its subscribers are in the United States, Latin America and Southeast Asia. His bet is to reach China, Korea and Japan.

There is a synergy between multinational foundations and video game development studios that reach populations that have never had financial education . This is precisely one of the great achievements of Fundación Capital which, in alliance with Colombia Games and other allies, launched a co-creation pedagogical initiative that has reached more than 250,000 users in Latin America. After overcoming technological, content and design challenges, people of all ages are now using their applications and video games.

“The great achievement of the design efforts is that the financial education trainings have been used by children, youth, adults, the elderly, illiterate, living in extreme poverty. By presenting content in a playful and relevant way, a greater social impact was achieved than expected, ”says Ana Pantelic.

Fundación Capital highlights how these trainings that integrate games, not only attracted the attention of young people, but also reached adults who had never had a relationship with a tablet or a smartphone in their lives. An interesting fact that allows us to affirm the social effect of this type of program.

Colombia Games has a long history of more than fifteen years in the development of video games and is recognized for its interest in social projects that go in the same direction as is the case of Fundación Capital . This organization works hand in hand with governments to increase the inclusion of the low-income population and provide products that impact at scale.

“One of our important allies has been Fundación Capital with whom we have developed video games that bring knowledge and entertainment to the population that most needs financial education, in countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Bolivia,” says Juan Nates, CEO of Colombia Games.

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