Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences (Høgskolen i Innlandet), SpareBank 1 Østlandet, and the AR/VR company EON Reality Norway are developing a virtual personal finance training programme for lower secondary school students. The purpose is to raise consciousness among consumers and reduce the level of debt collection among young people.
"We believe that, utilising new technology, a virtual training programme in personal finance can help young people better manage their personal consumption," says Christian Fjestad, the Innovation Manager at SpareBank 1 Østlandet. "We hope this type of initiative can contribute to sustainable personal finance and lead to lower rates of debt collection among young people," he says.
Excited students take on the job
The Elverum company EON Reality has taken up the challenge and has started working on defining what the teaching programme is to include. SpareBank 1 Østlandet's very own economics teacher Jesper Foss (aka "Jesper på hjul") who teaches about 4,000 lower secondary school students annually, will work with EON Reality and the AR/VR students at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences in order to work out the concept. Lower secondary school students will also be included in the work.
Virtual personal finance training is reminiscent of gaming
"AR and VR technology is well-suited for creating exciting learning, including about personal finance," says Knut Henrik Aas, Managing Director of EON Reality Norway AS. "Using this technology, you get to take part in a virtual space. You become personally activated while at the same time getting fact-based input," he says.
"The whole experience is reminiscent of gaming, and provides a kind of learning through responding to messages using visual means. In this way, you get an experience that will stay with you. You will most likely remember for longer and make decisions more quickly. This can be useful in developing a balanced relationship with money," says Knut Henrik Aas.
Collaboration with global ambitions
The project is an example of beneficial collaboration between colleges and the business community. "Our goal is to develop a virtual ‘Jesper på hjul’ that is entertaining and provides financial insight," says Christian Fjestad, who commissioned the project for SpareBank 1 Østlandet. "Together with EON, we want to stake our place as an innovative player and develop sustainable solutions in personal finance. We hope this may be of use to others – both here in Norway, but perhaps also in the global market," says Christian Fjestad. The project has a price tag of around NOK 2 million.