The Elementary Importance of Out-of-School Programmes (and How to Incentivise Attendance)

Budgets may be tight in the education sector, but you can still use incentives

The rationale rooted in rewards and incentives isn’t restricted to, or contained by, one industry, and the theories behind this have been even used to incentivise students.

From brand-to-consumer promotions, to broader internal benefits at companies, schools, clubs and institutions, there is an incredible opportunity to utilise creative, engaging programs to motivate positive behaviour.

Incentive Theory uses basic reasoning to suggest that people are pulled towards behaviours that bring positive incentives and pushed away from behaviours associated with negative incentives. In other words, differences in behaviour from one person to another, or from one situation to another can be traced to the incentives available and the value a person places on those incentives at the time.

We've previously explored how a night at the movies can been used to incentivise and influence broad demographics. Cinema vouchers are an experiential reward that pack quite the punch – from brand loyalty, and sales incentives, to creative promotional ideas, the possibilities are endless.

It’s an activity that doesn’t break the bank (for those providing the incentives), and presents recipients with a rich, immersive experience.  

So, let’s hone our focus, for a moment, onto the very real benefits of out-of-school programmes – and how cinema (along with other experiential rewards) can incentivise students…

The kids are alright

The case for out-of-school programmes is compelling. From problem-solving and analysis skills, to homework completion, attendance and the overall quality of student work, these activities have been accredited to boosting in-school performance, according to a survey by Afterschool Youth Outcomes.  

Parents and teachers alike understand the importance of these programmes, however, motivating children to attend them isn’t always easy. One solution that’s proved effective in raising attendance numbers and frequency is the use of incentives.

Research repeatedly suggests that incentives boost children and teens’ willingness to participate in new extracurricular activities (Loveland & Olley, 1979 and Koestner & Ryan, 2001) – and cinema may just be the key on how to incentivise students.

Having previously researched the cinema industry, we discovered a key insight about attendance, which is that the younger generation is the main cinema-going audience. However, a Deloitte Media Consumer Survey in 2015, the price of cinema is the main reason young people choose not to go to the cinema.

By offering children and teenagers the opportunity to visit the movies at a discounted price, or completely free of charge, adults can appeal to their better nature and drive motivation with an experience they actually care about.

And while there is a challenge in finding a one size fits all incentive, cinema certainly holds a broad appeal for parents and to incentivise students. Our survey found that 35% of 18-44 year olds, and over 25% of all respondents, identify cinema (among other experiential rewards) as a valuable way to incentivise students.


The experience is everything

Pair this outcome with the growth and diversification of the industry in recent years, and you’ll find modern film-making and new technologies that are boosting the appeal of the big screen beyond the traditional experience.

A number of immersive events – such as 3D, 4D and live screenings – are exclusive to cinema. It is events like this that people crave from a young age. They put fresh spin on common perceptions of the industry, and bring audiences closer to the action than ever before.

“While cost keeps many people away from the pictures, it should be remembered that people go to the cinema because of the experience as much as they do because it is a practical way to see a film.” – Vidisha Gaglani, Associate Director of Digital, Media and Technology, YouGov

There is a generation out there that, despite ‘particular pressure in terms of disposable income’, continues to see the value in cinema. By offering the big screen as an incentive for children and teenagers, institutions and organisations can provide them with experiences that they’ll be desperate to tell their friends about…

“…cinema is still at the top of the list of leisure activities that young people choose to spend their money on… Both the film itself and the social experience of sharing something with friends are the top reasons why the cinema is still so popular.” Into Film, 2014

A better future

The years we spend in education are, undeniably, the most important in our individual developmental years. However, it’s crucial not to underestimate the role that out-of-school programmes have on student behaviour and the quality of their wider lives.

Basic incentive programmes that take this surprisingly elementary approach to rewarding attendance at extracurricular clubs and activities, can have a positive impact on a child’s performance throughout their school career.

Everything from performance and engagement, to morale and attendance, can be inspired by a non-monetary approach to extra-curricular incentives. It’s time to motivate the younger generation and guide them towards a better future.