How does a 16-year-old who’s developed a disciplined approach to saving and investing share his knowledge with fellow teenagers? He partners with his mother to design an interactive course, powered by Articulate Presenter, and uses it as the centerpiece of a new business venture called Money Management Revealed.
As noted on the Money Management Revealed Web site, where you can see a preview of the full training course, the program “is written and taught by Chris Jackson, a successful teen who earned annual investment returns of 17%, 9% and 21% in the last three years.”
Chris and his mother, Mary, shared the full version of the course with me, and they did a great job incorporating compelling graphics, animations, and audio, and complementing the training material with the occasional Learning Game throughout the course.
I asked Chris about starting his business and why he decided to use Articulate Presenter to power his course:
I have been interested in investing for a very long time now. I have learned a lot, and feel fortunate that I have been fairly successful investing my own money. In two years I hope to be going to Duke University, and I’ll have to contribute some of my own money towards paying tuition if I get in. I was trying to think of businesses that I could start, and my parents suggested that I should teach what I know. I thought that that was a great idea. It was easy at first, and every time I got stuck in a rut, my mom would say “just teach them what you did!”
I wanted to make a CD with Articulate instead of writing a book because I thought that kids would be more likely to watch or listen to a CD than they would be to read a book. My personal favorite feature is that the presentation has audio, which makes it more interesting to kids and also makes it more probable that they will successfully complete the course.
Chris’ mother, Mary, added the following about the experience in developing the course around which her son’s business is focused:
Money management and investing are Chris’ passions and Articulate was the perfect software to support his interactive course, which is teaching (and entertaining!) teenagers throughout the US and Canada.
I do web design mostly, so I usually work with Dreamweaver, Flash and Photoshop. Last summer I began evaluating software products for eLearning purposes for a client. I tested a few products and chose Articulate because it produced an excellent eLearning course, and I felt the price was reasonable and the customer service was excellent.
When Chris decided to start his business, I knew that a CD would be a bit more involved than an ebook, but I thought it would be perfect for teenagers who are likely to be already sitting in front of their computer screens. After Chris wrote the course, he chose his images and fonts and then I went to work designing the slides. When the slides were finished, Chris recorded the audio and then I synched the animations with his audio. Then we made a master CD, designed the CD cover and mailer, and shipped the CD off to be replicated.
I’m also the person in charge of marketing, so I get all the feedback from customers. We’ve heard back from parents, and they love the interactive course.
My favorite features are the audio, Quizmaker, and the templates. My office at home is a 6′ by 6′ little room. When I record audio, I tack egg crate foam (low tech) to the walls and close the doors. I use a Samson microphone and that works really well. The only challenge is keeping the dog quiet.
We had fun using Quizmaker and many adults said they enjoyed taking Chris’ quizzes. We hope the teens are enjoying it.
I especially enjoyed designing the template with all the options. I tried a lot of color combinations and layout options, and I think Chris is very happy with the results.
From learning to pay yourself first to good debt vs. bad debt and being frugal and living below your means, Chris’ advice is useful and wise beyond his years — even if you’re not a teenager.