In my last few posts I have brought up the fact that today's technology can push awareness through expedient information dispersal and gorilla marketing. The marketing campaigns that I have mentioned all have an underlying fact; the product, service or idea that they are trying to raise awareness for is in some way interesting or engaging. The question that can then be raised is how can one use the technology of today to raise awareness and change within topics of little to no public interest.
The financial mess that the US has found itself in, has helped to shine some light on just how financially irresponsible many Americans are. An alarmingly small number of people have an understanding of the connection between the financial actions they take and the consequences of those actions, immediate or future. The key to bridging the knowledge gap is by appealing to the basic human reward response (1.)
Cognitive science has been clarifying human motivation for decades, and although psychologists have not agreed on one overarching explanation, all consent that motivation is key to understanding how and why humans act as they do (2.) Humans are hardwired to engage in goal-oriented activities (3.) we get pleasure from it, which in turn drives us to continue and expand the behavior (see addiction (1.)) How does this all relate back to financial awareness, or awareness in general? Well, if you turn learning into a goal-oriented activity, with tangible or artificial rewards, you can play to human's native response and not only engage them, but also encourage them to continue.
I strongly advise everyone to take ten minutes and watch the following video:
While Jesse Schell's vision of future connectivity may be a little extreme, it just points out that the fantastic and relatively unexplored medium of goal-oriented, game-inspired learning, could be applied to every aspect of your life and encourage you to not only further your knowledge, but be a better you.
Any person who has tried to learn or teach themselves something that is intrinsically boring or complicated will tell you that it is typically an unpleasant activity. Ask any person if they would rather read a booklet about home mortgages or play/watch a game/film, I assume they would choose the later. When ever, if ever think-tanks and investors turn their attention from making money, to making a better society, we could possibly see an implementation of Mr. Schell's ideas. After all shouldn't learning be a fun?
1. Bozarth, Micheal A, http://www.addictionscience.net/ASNreport01.htm
2. Alpay, E. "How Far Have Cognitive Theories of Motivation Advanced Our Understanding of the Motivation to Learn?"