Brand consciousness among children and it's effects on their learning process

Over the last year I have come across some children who refused to do certain science activities as part of our advanced learning program. Initially, I thought the child was too tired or was having a bad day. However, over a period of time a pattern started to emerge. The child was avoiding a certain brand of product. Any attempt to showcase the great features of the product drew sharp criticism and comparison with other brand even though this product had a huge learning advantage over the other brand.

This got me thinking on how brand awareness was influencing the learning process of the child. It is well known today that a child is particular about the brand of clothes, shoes, restaurant, dad's car and even the holiday destination! The other day, I asked an 8 year old child in which school he was studying, he promptly replied ".. in X school, it's the best in Bangalore." The child had chosen to stress on the fact that the school was best and he is associated with the best. This kind of brand worshiping used to be adult domain :). Sadly not anymore!

I have often come across children who claim to have completed multiple levels in robotics using kits from a very "popular" brand, however they seem get lost at the very basics of the concept itself. It is quite natural for a child to want to have bragging rights on certain "been there" and "done that" stuff, however learning (or gaining knowledge) does not depend of any specific brand. Many parents take a blind decision based on the branding of the products in a learning centre only to realize their folly much later.

Certain educational product brands have very high recall factor among children. These brands were early movers and of course great products and quality. The effectiveness of using them to gain knowledge completely lies in the execution and instructor knowledge. This is something that seems to have passed by many a children and parents. This topic was address in a different perspective in my earlier blog "Robotics for kids ... really?".

I guess this is true for the main stream education as well, where children compete for the best colleges, universities etc. These great brands have become greats due to past performances no doubt, but these are great because of the people who worked there. When these people are gone and replaced by new ones, it certainly will not remain the same.

Learning science should be as brand neutral as possible. There are great "branded" products that facilitate and make it easier to learn, but what scares me is the prospect of a child not ready to learn for want of a specific brand. Are these early indications or are these one off instances time will tell.



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