• Chris Brits - CEO, EBnet

Digitising Retirement & Financial Learning - The next level?

In a recent article, I discussed the way video has become the new print and how attention spans for most people but most notably in Millenials (also known as Gen Y: Born 1977 – 1995) and Gen Z (also known as iGen, or Centennials: Born after 1996) are on the decline. In our data driven society, people much rather prefer watching a 30 second video to reading an article with the same information in 2 minutes.

The same can also be said for how people want to learn and be trained.

Imagine for a moment trying to train a group of people on retirement and financial planning – perhaps not the most exciting of topics for them but an extremely necessary one.

Imagine also herding them into a classroom type environment with PowerPoint slides and graphs.

Also imagine you can hold their attention long enough whilst they are checking emails and social media on their smartphones under the table during the presentation.

If you can imagine this to end up in a successful session with them having learnt what you wanted to teach them, you may just be living in a world of imagination!

Time for change?

Perhaps it’s time to change the learning experience and move on to the next level, that of VR, AR and MR.

Millennial and Gen Z’s reading this article will immediately know what I’m talking about. For the benefit of the “more experienced generations” these acronyms stand for Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Merged / also called Mixed Reality (MR).

Virtual Reality (VR)

VR has been around a few years now where you pop on a headset holder for a smartphone which you insert into it and enter into an immersive, digital, 3-dimensional and 360 degree world. For some people the experience is initially a little disorientating but once used to it, an amazing digital world opens up to you.

This platform is ideal for watching 3-D movies and playing games and could with some creative software development be an ideal platform for learning various concepts simulated in a digital 3-D world.

An interactive game with a financial / retirement planning undertone in which the player follows different paths leading to either a positive or negative conclusion and in the case of the latter, being able to backtrack and see where things went wrong, could be a powerful and memorable experience.

Augmented Reality (AR)

AR is a more recent development and has already been on our mobile devices, in the form of Pokémon Go and Snapchat filters. AR allows the viewer to look through the mobile device screen at a real-world environment whilst inserting digital overlays into view to augment the real world picture.

Again with some creative software development, one can create a more realistic learning experience using real-world and digital elements together to create a unique learning experience.

Merged or Mixed Reality (MR)

This is the latest technology and makes a further play on AR by allowing the user to reach into the view created in an AR environment and interact with the elements through touch, type and swipe etc.

Both Intel and Microsoft demonstrated two forms of MR at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco in August 2018. The first was Project Alloy, a wireless headset that allows you to bring real objects into the virtual world using 3D cameras. The second is Windows Holographic Shell, and it does the reverse – allowing virtual computer screens, objects, and people into the real world.

Could this sort of technology be the next level for education?

If we want to change financial planning behaviour and empower more people to become financially savvy, we need to up the game (pun intended) and find ways to create effective and engaging learning experiences for them.

The technology exists already and perhaps investing in the development of its usage in an immersive and engaging environment is something the large retirement funds should consider pioneering in the retirement industry.


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