Does financial literacy ed need a “flipped” boost?

New course intends to give program facilitators an in-depth understanding of financial literacy.

financial-literacyiGrad and the University of Illinois (UI) have launched a financial literacy instructor certification program, aimed at boosting instructor confidence in the subject.

The online course will be led by Scott Johnson, Program Coordinator of the Illinois Online Network (ION), a faculty development program at the University of Illinois that focuses on online and technology-enhanced teaching and learning.

The course will employ the classroom curriculum “Your Financial Mastery” from iGrad and “Pay Your Family First.” The 2015 “Education Program of the Year” was written by best-selling author Sharon Lechter and Certified Personal and Family Finance Educator Angela Totman.

The course is designed to provide program facilitators with an advanced understanding of financial literacy concepts and help them convey that knowledge using the flipped classroom approach. This method aims to enhance student learning by leveraging online video lectures, practical examples, and instructor-led activities and discussions, while encouraging participant learning and interaction.

(Next page: Course objectives)

“When I learned about iGrad’s concept for this certification in financial literacy, I knew this was an important step for faculty development nationwide; you don’t get this training in graduate school,” says Johnson.

The importance of this course was further highlighted in a study conducted by the National Endowment for Financial Education. The nonprofit organization reported that “fewer than 20 percent” of 1,234 educators they surveyed felt “very competent” in teaching financial literacy topics.

“Many administrators and professors are not comfortable teaching financial literacy because it is a very dynamic subject that many consider to be taboo,” says iGrad Vice President, Kris Alban. “Most of these financial literacy programs are aimed at helping the student, but very little is being done to address the low-confidence levels cited by those responsible for teaching these subjects.”

The certification course trains educators in personal finance and aims to give them the confidence and structure to teach the material effectively. “By partnering with ION, we are helping educators overcome these obstacles by providing them a with step-by-step guide for teaching financial literacy” says Alban.

Educators and administrators aren’t the only ones interested. Several institutions, including Fortune 500 companies and banks, are beginning to identify the need for financial literacy education within their organizations.

“Employers are beginning to understand that stress in the workplace is caused largely in part by a person’s everyday money problems. A financial literacy wellness program can help ease some of that stress, increase productivity, and save them a lot of money along the way,” says iGrad’s Alban.

Johnson encourages anyone interested in signing up: “It could be a community organization or individual: a plumber, a daycare provider, or a fireman who feels like this is something that needs to be taught in their community or church.”

The next course is set to begin June 1 and run through July 25.

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Laura Ascione