Learning-by-Doing: Comparing Banking Services and Costs

Educator engages students in real-world banking services and costs comparisons.
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About this Micro-credential

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*Offer valid until 12/22/2017. To receive a gift card, participant must complete all portions of the micro-credential application including the optional survey. Gift cards will be awarded in the form of Amazon eGift Cards emailed to the account specified by the participant. Each participant can receive maximum one gift card. GFLEC reserves the right to withdraw this offer at any time.

Key Method

The educator employs the method of learning by doing to guide students to compare real-world banking services and costs.

Method Components

What is learning by doing?

The strategy of learning by doing is a hands-on approach that allows students to learn through the direct experience of carrying out the tasks of the learning goal.

Components of a learning-by-doing activity:

  • Introduction of a problem or goal
  • Students work independently or in a group to find the solution
  • Active, hands-on, and relevant to their interests or lives

Suggested Implementation:

  1. Students should have prior knowledge of banking services, costs, and the differences between traditional banking services and high-cost banking services such as payday lenders and check-to-cash establishments. Examples include an understanding of vocabulary and concepts that students will need to analyze when evaluating traditional banking costs and services.
  2. Prepare an activity sheet for students to compare banking services and costs at a minimum of three local banks and credit unions. Considerations should include services and costs relevant to high school students, such as minimum balance requirements, overdraft fees, and mobile banking services.
  3. Students then work independently to compare traditional banking services and fees at local banks and credit unions by comparing the banks online, in person, or over the phone.
  4. Considering their own current needs or needs in the immediate future, students select a bank or credit union and write a reflection supporting why they made the decision.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research

Many high school students are in a position to open bank accounts, or already have a bank account. This teaching method is most ideal because it closes the gap between an in-class activity and putting concepts into practice in the real world. The following sources summarize key research on using learning-by-doing and the suggested implementation to teach comparing banking services and costs:


Resources to illustrate the high cost of not using traditional banking services, including video clips, a documentary, and interactive data

Independent banking services and fees resources

Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

The items in this following section detail what must be submitted for evaluation. To earn the micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1, 3 and 4, and a “Yes” for both artifacts submitted for Part 2.

Part 1. Overview Questions

(300-word limit):

  • How did you provide background knowledge on traditional and high-cost bank services prior to the hands-on learning activity?

Part 2. Work Examples/Artifacts

Please submit two completed student activity sheets.

Part 3. Student Reflection

Please include reflections from two students who completed the activity submitted in Part 2, using the following questions as guidance for the students (150-word limit each):

  • What bank or credit union did you select?
  • Explain why you made the selection. Include factors such as specific services and costs that were the best fit for your current needs, or needs in the immediate future.

Part 4. Teacher Reflection

Provide a reflection of what you learned, using the following questions as guidance (150-word limit):

  • How did this method help you bridge the gap between students understanding the topic and applying what was learned to their daily lives?
  • Which other personal finance topics can this teaching method be used for in the classroom?

Part 5. Survey (Optional)

Please answer a brief survey about your experience teaching personal finance. Your responses will:

  • help us understand barriers personal finance teachers face;
  • and help us improve the resources being offered to personal finance educators

We appreciate your help.

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


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