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Invesco QQQ’s Web-Based Learning Game to Help College Students Develop Healthy Financial Habits

About Invesco QQQ

Invesco QQQ is an exchange-traded fund that tracks the Nasdaq-100 Index™ and features Apple, Google, Microsoft, and more.

The Challenge

Financial literacy is a critical skill for young people, one which is often overlooked and rarely taught in any formal setting. As the official sponsor of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Invesco QQQ aspired to create a game-changing experience that was genuinely useful and gave something back to the college student and athlete community.

Venturing into a new space and aware of the difficulty of reaching an audience that historically hasn’t received much financial education, LEO and PRELOADED identified a number of challenges and priorities that would inform the success of the project:

  • Speaking to an audience with varied knowledge—from zero financial literacy to Warren Buffett aspirers
  • Balancing an experience that’s fun, expressive, and engaging while grounded in educational content and regulatory context
  • Creating a creative and educational resource that’s appealing to young individuals from diverse backgrounds
  • Establishing a trusted voice on finance education in a digital world where students lack a sense of truth
  • Learning Game

  • Learning Strategy

  • Learning Technology

  • Consulting

The Solution

Invesco QQQ worked together with LEO and PRELOADED to design an experience that equips college students, student athletes, and young individuals from all walks of life with lasting knowledge to help them develop healthy financial habits.

Together, as part of a large group of experts and stakeholders, LEO and PRELOADED developed ‘How Not to Suck at Money’ (HNTSAM), a web-based game that offers players an interactive learning experience based on real-world financial situations and the secrets of good money management. The narrative-led and purposeful gameplay explores a series of financial dilemmas, underpinned by an applied learning framework that drives real-world impact.

Combining LEO’s expertise in learning and learning game design with PRELOADED’s extensive track record in developing consumer-grade games, the team piloted a range of different concepts, play mechanics, and modes of learning that could meet the learning objectives. These included social play, linear curriculums, and peer interactions, etc.

Extensive audience testing revealed that a character-led and narrative-driven game design was the most successful in balancing playful game elements with educational content. As an outcome, LEO and PRELOADED could bring forward a concept from the design phase into production, validated by the audience.

To build something like this doesn’t take a village; it takes a town—of wonderfully talented, passionate people. Please take a moment to learn more about How Not to Suck at Money, the official financial education program of the NCAA.

- Emily Pachuta, Chief Marketing & Analytics Officer for the Americas at Invesco

The Results

The result of this process became How Not to Suck at Money, a fin-ed web game that equips the player with financial tips through nine unique scenarios, and most importantly, five money secrets that will be useful for daily life.

Driving these learning outcomes is an applied learning framework built around a core loop:

LEARN: Punchy, humorous, and educational video content that informs the player on how to solve each character’s dilemma. These put players in the driving seat when making decisions, ranging from simple to tough, but the interaction is always satisfying.

APPLY: Story-narrative gameplay encourages users to apply their learning in the game. The use of ‘sticky stories’ presented in each character’s arc requires the player to actively consider their choices and solutions for their personal financial journeys.

REMEMBER: In-game and analog rewards, including a downloadable Money Playbook and a LinkedIn certification, are earned as a tangible resource to take away. These assets allow players to revisit the information at their convenience, blending the merits of both digital and offline learning.

HNTSAM has been rolled out as part of the wider sponsorship program for Invesco QQQ and the NCAA, reaching students across the US. To measure its impact, granular data-tagging implemented by LEO and PRELOADED allows Invesco QQQ to understand how players are using the game and how to best scale development over time, ensuring that the game continues to be a valuable resource for new generations of students.

How Not to Suck at Money is free and available to play here.

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