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In Bolivia, we worked together with Banco Unión on the development of a digital program for financial education designed for youth. This is how “Una Puerta al Futuro” was born. It is a game for PC that transmits concepts like savings, consumer rights, and life planning in a fun way. It is targeted at young people aged 16 to 20 and will be used as an official educational tool in Bolivia, in what is one of the first examples of the region using ludic and digital methodologies for financial education.

One of the first steps in the development of this digital tool consisted in learning about the experience and opinion of youth. In other words, we needed to identify the concepts that they, as future recipients of the program, were familiar with and the financial education needs they might have.

With this objective in mind and before planning the modules, we carried out a survey to discover the preferences of the young people in the region. By understanding what things catch their interest, we would be able to develop modules with content that introduced financial education in an effective way. We surveyed young people from rural and urban contexts in the cities of La Paz and Santa Cruz, representing the Andean and Tropical contexts respectively.

Before the survey the youth were asked if they had completed a virtual course before. Their experience was vague or non-existent, and the majority of them only had experience with internet games. In spite of this, a lot of them agreed on the bad influence that online games can exercise over people their age. On the other hand, young people from La Paz reported to using Quipus (computers given to schools by the government) quite frequently and many said that the variety of content was poor and very focused on math, social and natural sciences.

The survey demonstrated the limited experience of youth with virtual educational courses as well as their preference for receiving them online. Young people demonstrated their interest for entertaining, challenging and original content, and at the same time expressed rejection of, and frustration at, slow and low-interest programs. Finally, they are demanding about the design quality, effects, sounds and images, and they prefer a combination of text and images instead of a large quantities of written text.

For the characters featured in this type of learning material to be successful, they need to have certain characteristics that allow youth to identify with them. However, opinion as to the prefered type of character differed. Some young people liked realistic characters, while others were more inclined towards characters with heroic characteristics. In terms of tracking performance, they preferred a system of points accumulation.

Thanks to these results, we decided to develop our game with characteristics similar to online games, with a like-able and playful combination of content and activities. The ultimate goal is that financial education awakens their interest and is not considered a difficult and unattractive subject to study. In this way, we designed Una Puerta al Futuro as an entertaining and useful tool for youth to acquire knowledge and capabilities that allow them build a future.

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