Tatra banka: Using virtual reality to teach children money basics

Sustainability & Regulation
07/06/2022 Interview
profile picture of Ludovit Cibulka Ludovit Cibulka Tatra Banka Innovation Development Manager

Ľudovít Cibulka is a tech enthusiast with more than a decade of experience in the banking industry. He is currently part of the R&D team - Elevator Lab - powered by Tatra banka. He spoke about the initiatives underway that are teaching young Slovaks the ins and outs of money management. 

When you decided to educate Slovak high school students, did you consider other options than a mobile game? If no, why? If yes, which ones?

Well, the story is little bit more complex. Obviously, we knew about VR tech for a while and we also knew about the low level of financial literacy in Slovakia, but the idea to create a VR app essentially came up after we were part of one presentation during a Fintech festival in Singapore back in 2019. During this presentation the card company was telling interesting stories about their mission in poor regions of Africa. Afterwards they gave us VR headsets to witness real life situations in Africa. And I can still remember how this experience had a huge impact on everyone in the room. 

Immediately we were able to much better understand the topic and initiatives done by the card company. So basically, we knew that this is exactly what we want to do with students regarding financial literacy – not just to tell them how they financial behaviors should be, but to actually let them experience it through an engaging story. Thanks to this approach there is a much higher chance for students to understand deeper why some financial choices are better than others and also the reasoning behind.

Designing a game is a real challenge. Can you tell me more about the main challenges you had to face to make VR Generation Z? And did you get help from game professionals?

The biggest challenge was probably to keep the balance between story complexity and therefore the amount of knowledge we can put inside the game versus total game time. Because if the story is too long, with so much story branching along the way, it will be quite hard to keep young people engaged from start to end. We were aware of that from the very beginning based on so many research studies regarding young people or Generation Z and their relatively short attention span. 

A big help for us as newbies in this entertainment industry was that this was mostly a pilot program to verify a hypothesis that we had and test this completely new approach regarding financial literacy education. We got help from our partner VR company VR Everything, but on top of that we were not seeking help from actual game professionals for a variety of reasons. What helped us a lot was the support from our top management, they supported us way beyond their ordinary duties.

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