Consumer education involves transferring information from experts, such as government agencies, to the general public. When you teach consumer education, you need to identify the issue, identify the affected groups, choose efficient presentation modes, inform the audience about consumer rights and effectively teach the necessary skills.
Identify a Public Concern
Consumer education's initial objective is to correctly identify an issue that concerns the public. For example, credit card fraud affects both businesses and credit card holders. The objective is reducing the extent of credit card fraud by teaching consumers how to protect themselves. By understanding the credit card holders' existing knowledge of how criminals can defraud them, you can fill in their knowledge gaps.
Identify an Audience
You should tailor the educational materials to the group affected by a particular issue. In credit card fraud, the audience consists of consumers 18 and older, so points where the consumer education can reach the audience are through mail from the credit card company, credit card websites or at points of sale in stores. Concentrate on nontechnical terms for easy understanding and provide a complete list of the dangers of using a credit card.
Consumer education should aim to present knowledge to the general public or to the specific group affected by the issue. Effective consumer education should include such concepts as consumer rights (or basic nutrition or information about additives, if the concern is over a food product), presented in the most efficient way.
Teach the Consumer Role
Part of consumer education is teaching the public about consumers' and businesses' roles in society. Consumers can then appreciate their roles in supply and demand, and the role of consumer organizations that protect against misleading practices.
You should also teach the audience about the skills needed to implement consumer knowledge. For example, after learning about a particular issue, the public should be able to write an effective letter of complaint, referencing the appropriate consumer laws and authorities. Another useful skill is the ability to spot sales gimmicks and correctly judge value for money.
Jillian O'Keeffe has been a freelance writer since 2009. Her work appears in regional Irish newspapers including "The Connacht Tribune" and the "Sentinel." O'Keeffe has a Master of Arts in journalism from the National University of Ireland, Galway and a Bachelor of Science in microbiology from University College Cork.